Northwestern Mutual drives diversity with new Black Founder Accelerator

Northwestern Mutual drives diversity with new Black Founder Accelerator

Northwestern Mutual, a financial services stalwart with a legacy spanning over 165 years, is again setting its sights on empowering Black entrepreneurs. Known for its comprehensive financial planning approach and an impressive asset management record, the company continues to make strides in creating a more inclusive financial ecosystem.

The paramount goal of the Black Founder Accelerator is to bridge the funding gap experienced by Black entrepreneurs. In a bid to foster a more inclusive entrepreneurial environment, the accelerator aims to give tech startups the support they desperately need, both financially and strategically.

Northwestern Mutual has dedicated itself to ensuring the financial security of people and businesses for generations. With a holistic planning approach, the company melds the insights of its financial professionals with a state-of-the-art digital experience. Overseeing more than $558bn in total assets across institutional and retail portfolios, and boasting nearly $35bn in revenues, they provide a safety net for over five million individuals through diverse financial products and services.

The Black Founder Accelerator program, now celebrating its third year, has announced its newest fall cohort of five promising Black-owned tech startups. In collaboration with gener8tor, a top-ranking startup accelerator, this initiative is a significant part of Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures’ impressive $20m allocation dedicated to championing Black founders.

Addressing the alarming fact that Black founders garner less than two percent of venture capital, the accelerator offers each startup a chance at a $100,000 investment. The chosen startups also benefit from a rigorous 12-week program that provides individualised coaching, mentorship, and invaluable insights from industry veterans.

There are five startups in this new cohort, global banking app CashEx, student loan provider Shur, tax support FinTech ModernTax, brand marketplace Athlytic and credit risk solution Foresignt.

Beyond the accelerator, Northwestern Mutual demonstrates its commitment to societal change by investing in a $100m impact fund. This fund prioritises addressing inequality and the racial wealth gap in the U.S., focusing on pivotal areas such as physical and social infrastructure, access to capital, and fostering sustainable, thriving communities.

Northwestern Mutual chief audit executive Abim Kolawole said, “As we witness the remarkable achievements of each cohort, we are reminded that programs like these are essential in fostering a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. We hope that the success of these founders will inspire future generations of Black entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams.”

Managing director of Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures Craig Schedler said, “This program’s success is an honest reflection of our company’s unwavering support to create a more diverse industry by helping Black founders propel their businesses forward. We are confident that this next cohort of bright entrepreneurs will use the resources provided in this program to become leaders in their respective sectors.”

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