20 Black- and Latinx-owned N.J. companies selected for first class of EY’s Entrepreneurs Access Network

Ernst & Young announced Monday the 20 companies that make up the inaugural cohort of the New Jersey class of its Entrepreneurs Access Network, a business accelerator and comprehensive, executive-level educational program designed to elevate scalable Black- and Latinx-owned companies through access to mentors, resources and networks.

(The complete list of companies selected is at the bottom of this story.)

The program, which offers a curated, class-based learning program for emerging and established enterprises, also is launching in New York City and Philadelphia, as well as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, California’s Bay Area, Detroit, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.

An on-demand option with self-paced education will be available to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs of all levels nationwide.

EY officials said the program was started to address funding and guidance issues. EY officials say approximately 1% of venture capital dollars go to Black and Latinx founders, despite the fact that minority-owned businesses produced approximately $700 billion in revenue in 2019 alone.

Anthony Sgammato, EY Iselin Office managing partner, said these figures illustrate the vast opportunity cost of not supporting these underserved entrepreneurs.

“Nearly 1 in 3 small businesses in New Jersey is minority-owned,” he said. “The economic impact of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs is significant, but they don’t receive the support needed to grow and scale.

Jackie Taylor. (File photo)

“We are thrilled to be welcoming these New Jersey-based entrepreneurs to the inaugural New Jersey curated program cohort. Our team, led by our NJ EAN Champion Jackie Taylor, is ready to provide these innovators with the resources, knowledge and connections they need to realize their ambitions.”

Taylor explained the program in detail to ROI-NJ earlier this fall.

EAN’s 12-month curated program includes a company assessment, alignment with a dedicated EY relationship adviser and a customized learning plan based on the needs and maturity of the company. Participants receive both tangible and intangible guidance, such as guidance in digital transformation, support in upskilling employees and help developing boards and expanding professional networks.

Nit Reeder, EY Entrepreneurs Access Network program director, said the program is about more than just funding.

“Minority entrepreneurs receive so little support, even though they show immense revenue potential,” she said. “But closing this gap requires more than capital alone. EAN is not a ‘fund and forget’ program. Our curriculum provides tools and access to an ecosystem.”

Black and Latinx business owners who applied for the curated program were evaluated based on certain criteria and placed within “Emerging” and “OnDemand” categories. Black and Latinx entrepreneurs at all revenue, ownership and operational maturity levels can access the EAN resource library, an online resource offering self-paced learning, in mid-January.

Reeder said EAN builds on EY’s current entrepreneurial programs, including 34 years of EY Entrepreneur of the Year and 12 years of Entrepreneurial Winning Women.

“As we look to the year ahead, it’s more important than ever to support Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, linking them to the resources they need to thrive,” she said.

The companies in the NJ cohort:

  • BKW Transformation Group;
  • com;
  • DGX Security;
  • EJE Travel Retail;
  • Fitness Compulsion;
  • Fria LLC;
  • Fusionworks Americas;
  • InCharged;
  • Custom Design Innovations LLC;
  • Diverse & Engaged;
  • Lotus Connect LLC;
  • Cory’s Cookies;
  • Pawtanicals LLC;
  • Qunnections Management Group LLC;
  • RoboBurger Inc.;
  • Senor Sangria;
  • Stealth Bros. & Co.;
  • Technology Concepts Group International;
  • Tene Nicole, Marketing and Public Relations;
  • US Fresh Corp.