the mandela entrepreneurs Program

The Mandela Entrepreneurs Program supports the launch and growth of community-based businesses by providing foundational business development support services that are culturally relevant and entrepreneur driven.


The Program is divided into two core components.


The Mandela Entrepreneurs Workshop Series serves as the first rung in a ladder to entrepreneurship cultivation. The workshop series supports underserved BIPOC entrepreneurs looking for ways to start, grow, or expand their businesses, and is provided in partnership with local community groups to ensure place-based connection, support, and accessibility in neighborhoods where people live. 

Defining Product / Concept

Develop your concept, and define your business’ mission, vision, and value proposition.

Online Marketing

Learn how to market your business online. Topics include: digital identity, SEO, social media marketing, and building a website.

Getting Ready for Capital

Learn about personal credit improvement strategies and how to get ready for capital.

Building Networks of Support

Connect with business service providers that can support you in your on-going entrepreneurship journey. 

Customer & Sales Channels

Explore your potential customer base, brainstorm sales channels, analyze industry trends, and determine how to market test products/services.

Business Finances

Identify business costs, evaluate variable versus fixed costs, and explore how to price products / services.

Accessing Capital

Understand your start up or growth costs and begin to explore the different options available to fund your business concept. 

Pitch Night & Graduation

Pitch your business idea to your workshop peers and community partners.

Business Planning

Finalize your business plan to inform our advising and set clear goals. 

Marketing Planning

Create an actionable Marketing Plan; develop a web and social media presence.

Access Capital

Reviewing small business funding options and get hands-on support in applying for microloans or navigating alternative investment options. 

Formalizing & Permitting

Navigate the Alameda County business formalization and health permitting process (if applicable) .

Business Finances

Document costs, create a clear pricing strategy, analyze historical financial data, and draft growth projections. 

Capacity Building and Networking

Discussing business ideas with our advising team and get connected to business service providers for specific needs (i.e legal, web development, etc)


Workshop graduates gain access to One-on-One Advising, a vetted business development support network, and low-cost capital. Our one-on-one advising program serves limited-resource entrepreneurs looking to dive deeper into developing specific business goals, such as finalizing a business plan, developing financials and planned growth projections, building a marketing plan, etc. Mandela also provides tailored support for launching or growing their food business. ​ 

Our advisors serve as a sounding board, accountability support, and long-term partner. Entrepreneurs who are accepted into Mandela's advising program gain access to bi-monthly advising sessions, with the intention readying them to take part in vetted sector specific business development or acceleration programs, and / or access to capital through Mandela's Community Capital programs. For food-based entrepreneurs, Mandela can provide unique guidance regarding commercial kitchens, standard operating procedures, health permitting, recipe development, etc.