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THE 'LAND'

Cleveland has a reputation for being a hub for opportunity and Black entrepreneurship, with a history of Black-owned businesses as old as the city itself. Dating back to the 19th century, Black business owners such as Alfred Greenbrier, who was known for raising horses and cattle,  Madison Tilley, who employed 100 men in his excavating business, and John Brown, a real estate tycoon, were known for their accumulation of substantial wealth. 

Fast forward to today, the Cleveland Metropolitan Area has the 17th largest Black population in the United States. Although “The Land” has statistically been called one of the worst cities for Black women in terms of education and economics and has the highest poverty rate of large cities, the North Coast continues to fight forward, preparing for an entrepreneurial renaissance to combat these inequities.

In 2022, the United Black Fund partnered with our team to present the MORTAR Entrepreneurship Academy, our 15-week cohort-based program for local entrepreneurs who are ready to start or scale their enterprises, adding to the local economy, and the continued legacy of Black-Owned businesses in Cleveland, Ohio.

our

academy

The MORTAR Entrepreneurship Academy is a fifteen-week course designed for those who are starting or growing their businesses. It will challenge you. It will inspire you. It will force you to confront your limitations and help you identify and develop your strengths. You will be exposed to new information and you will be reminded of what you already know. You will be asked to work hard inside and outside of class. You will be asked to think abstractly; to imagine something that does not yet exist. You will be asked to think concretely; to work with data and information and to make decisions about your business. But most of all, you will be asked to make some REAL decisions. If at any point you decide that this entrepreneurial journey isn’t for you—come and talk to us. Chances are we can talk you off of the ledge;, but if you choose to walk away, understand that everything you’ve learned will still help you on your journey to wherever you’re headed.

our

academy

The MORTAR Entrepreneurship Academy is a fifteen-week course designed for those who are starting or growing their businesses. It will challenge you. It will inspire you. It will force you to confront your limitations and help you identify and develop your strengths. You will be exposed to new information and you will be reminded of what you already know. You will be asked to work hard inside and outside of class. You will be asked to think abstractly; to imagine something that does not yet exist. You will be asked to think concretely; to work with data and information and to make decisions about your business. But most of all, you will be asked to make some REAL decisions. If at any point you decide that this entrepreneurial journey isn’t for you—come and talk to us. Chances are we can talk you off of the ledge;, but if you choose to walk away, understand that everything you’ve learned will still help you on your journey to wherever you’re headed.

program

FLOW

Before taking flight, even before stepping onto the plane, a pilot consults her preflight checklist. This is to ensure that when she’s soaring 30,000 feet above the clouds, nothing surprises her, nothing throws her off her course. Read below to get a taste of a typical class and the week-by-week outline.

ELEMENTS OF A MORTAR ENTREPRENEURSHIP ACADEMY SESSION

MEETS WEEKLY FOR THREE HOURS

‘PUTTING IN WORK’ OUTSIDE OF CLASS

GUEST SPEAKERS

WEEKLY MEETINGS WITH MENTORS

ACTIVITIES

VIDEOS

REFLECTION

CELEBRATING SUCCESS AND LEARNING FROM FAILURE

WEEK BY WEEK

ORIENTATION : MEET YOUR CLASS

WEEKS 1-4 : FOUNDATIONS

WEEKS 5-8 : THE CORE

WEEKS 9-11 : REALLY REAL

WEEKS 11-15 : BEYOND MORTAR ENTREPRENEURIAL ACADEMY

Interested in

learning more?

To apply for the MORTAR Entrepreneurship Academy program in Cleveland, please click APPLY NOW at the top of this page.

For more information or to donate, visit the United Black Fund of greater Cleveland or reach out via email at admin@mortarcle.com

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