The Center for Economic Inclusion is spearheading a new business accelerator for small businesses owned or run by people of color.

The Vanguard Accelerator will be led by experienced Black business owners and plans to assist 60 businesses to create 150 family-sustaining jobs over several years. The goal is to increase aggregate revenue of the participants by $4.5 million.

"The Minneapolis-St. Paul region has numerous businesses that are ripe but not scaling, and our region's economic growth depends on our collaborative efforts to accelerate job and wealth creation," said Tawanna Black, founder of the Center for Economic Inclusion, in a statement.

"Historically, Black, Indigenous and Latina communities have been on the sidelines of wealth growth, experiencing limited investment opportunities," she added. "Our investments in these business owners will greatly impact the economic prospect of the entire region.''

The St. Paul nonprofit is working with national consultant Founders First CDC, real estate firm NEOO Partners and JPMorgan Chase.

The center is one of six entities that received $5 million by JPMorgan as part of its AdvancingCities Challenge to boost Black and Latina women-owned businesses. The the center will spend some of the money on the accelerator.

It will provide $5,000 grants, forgivable loans of $25,000 to $250,000, and real estate and other services to small businesses with at least three full-time employees and revenue up to $3 million. The inaugural 2023 cohort will be three businesses. Applications will be accepted through Dec. 12.

"The Vanguard Accelerator checked every box for this funding," said Joanna Trotter, an executive director at JPMorgan Chase.

Founders First, a nonprofit development company, has awarded $423,000-plus since 2015 to minority business owners in Texas, Chicago, California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The Center for Economic Inclusion, founded in 2017, is a business-supported organization that seeks to grow the Twin Cities economy and close documented racial employment, income and wealth gaps.