7 questions with Dave Christopher about the Russell Technology Business Incubator – Louisville Business First

Nearly a year ago, Dave Christopher said there wasn’t a Black startup community in Louisville.
That has certainly changed, thanks in large part to his nonprofit’s minority-focused business development program, the Russell Technology Business Incubator (RTBI).
Over the past several months, the founders of 31 Louisville-area businesses have walked through RTBI’s doors at 1219 W. Jefferson St. The companies vary in industry — from education and food delivery applications to transportation and construction to restaurants and retail — and they all received access to business education, mentors and other opportunities.
“If RTBI didn’t exist, this would be just another idea on the cutting room floor,” said Sean Smith, co-founder of P.E.P. Rally, in an August interview. P.E.P. has participated in the program this year. “Without this program, we would not be anywhere near where we’re at with this. It’s been a huge blessing.”
After the year-long incubator program, at least 17 of the 31 startups are now generating profits, Christopher added, but there’s a long road ahead to building up the minority business community in Louisville.
“What I really need everyone to understand is the disparities that we see in business ownership and the racist systems, processes and procedures that got us here did not happen overnight and therefore the solution to these inequities — that I strongly believe the AMPED Russell Technology Business Incubator is — will not be corrected overnight,” he said. “We need corporations, foundations, banks, individuals and communities to join us for the long haul.”
Christopher answered a few more questions for KY Inno as the application period for RTBI’s next cohort opens. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Nov. 30 and you can access the application here.
What is the mission of the Russell Technology Business Incubator? To create legacy Black and LatinX businesses that will lead to generational wealth and thereby narrowing the wealth gap.
How have things been going for RTBI’s first cohort? It has been going great, but very eye opening to the tremendous need for this type of business incubator with a focus on Black and LatinX businesses.
What will startup founders experience and/or learn during the year-long program? Legal, accounting, business structure, pricing strategies, marketing, fundraising, capital attainment, wealth strategies, work/life balance, etc.
Who is eligible? Any new or existing Black- or LatinX-owned business.
What are you looking for in an applicant? Determined, committed and a clear vision of what the applicant wants for their business. This is a year-long program and it is not an easy road. There is a lot of work involved.
Who are some of the mentors/advisors/coaches that will be working with the second cohort? R Davis Studio, Visionnaireum, Creative Spirits Behavioral Health, University of Louisville, Hallpoint Solutions, Claycomb Accounting & Tax Services, Obi Law Group PLLC, and others.
Anything else founders need to know ahead of time? There will be only 20 businesses selected which means that the application process will be very competitive. It is extremely important that applicants show commitment and a clear vision for their business.
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