Each year, the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis (WFSTL) provides grant funding of up to $15,000 to organizations serving women in the St. Louis region. Grant recipients show a commitment to increasing job and living wage access to women, increasing support for working families, and/or increasing family well-being by eliminating barriers to success for women. 

In 2020, we funded a program called the Elevate/Elevar Accelerator, an initiative of WEPOWER. WEPOWER is a local nonprofit committed to solving our region’s biggest systemic challenges. They activate community power to re-design education, economic, health, and justice systems to be just and equitable for all. WEPOWER’s Elevate/Elevar Accelerator program is a 6-month program that provides for-profit companies the funding, training, and connections to support business growth. The program aims to spark economic development and work to develop living wage jobs in North St. Louis City through entrepreneurship. Elevate/Elevar is the only business accelerator exclusively for Black and Latinx founders in St. Louis. 

WEPOWER is passionate about developing intentional relationships. At its core, Elevate/Elevar emphasizes curriculum, capital, and connections for entrepreneurs. The connections piece is where we find mentorship. The connections to accomplished mentors provides the investment (i.e social, emotional, and intellectual capital) required to accelerate their journey. From passing down lessons learned, to sharing common industry obstacles, and encouraging entrepreneurs when the going gets tough, this investment is foundational.

The mentor/mentee dynamic is a snapshot of coalescing potential (mentees) and accelerators (mentors) mapping out a trajectory that grounds St. Louis as a model. The ground is fertile for sprouting relationships. Many of your favorite local businesses have blazed a trail for today’s entrepreneurs, seeking guidance from colleagues and others who shared their creative vision. Mentorship provides an opportunity to pay it forward. In your own journey as an entrepreneur and/or industry expert, whose input changed your trajectory and why? We are looking for those moments in this partnership. 

Join WEPOWER by being a mentor! WEPOWER is seeking volunteers of all identities to serve as mentors, and you may be just the right fit. WEPOWER is intentional about the time commitment: meet with your entrepreneur and the Elevate/Elevar team once a month for the duration of the program, which comes out to less than 20 hours across 6 months. As a mentor you will:

  • Provide critical feedback and thought partnership on strategic challenges & urgent challenges,

  • Affirm, activate, and encourage entrepreneurs,

  • Make key connections that support them and their company.

While WEPOWER’s greatest need is for mentors, they understand that it isn’t for everyone. To contribute in other ways, consider getting involved as a Guest Expert, a one time commitment where you’ll provide feedback and collaborate with entrepreneurs on a specific topic/activity (e.g. go-to-market strategy).

WFSTL and WEPOWER understand the power of “we”. When we commit to supporting entrepreneurs and the larger community, amazing things can happen.

Sign up to become a mentor here: http://bit.ly/EEmentor21

Sign up to become a guest expert here: http://bit.ly/EEguestexpert

If you have any questions about the role, please reach out to Edgar at [email protected]