We're thrilled to announce our latest cohorts of the Lab and the Accelerator at ICA!
Join us in welcoming the 18 Bay Area entrepreneurs that have been selected to participate in our business advising programs, the Accelerator and the Lab at ICA. The programs – which have graduated 103 iconic Bay Area businesses such as Progeny Coffee, Oaktown Spice Shop, and Cupcakin’ Bake Shop – connect women founders and founders of color with personalized business coaching and networks of peers. Selected entrepreneurs will learn strategies to become capital-ready and scale their businesses while building wealth for themselves, their employees, and their communities.
These founders are committed to growing businesses with purpose. Now with the help of ICA, they will learn tested growth strategies, connect with our expert advising network, and – when the time is right – have access to our flexible, founder-friendly equity capital. Welcome to ICA!
The ICA Accelerator is an intensive 13-week program focusing on growth strategy, people strategy, capital strategy and investment readiness for established businesses. Participants join a cohort of peers and receive 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with high-caliber advisors. Selected entrepreneurs for this spring’s cohort, which is Cohort 11, include:
- Youngwon Lee with Dokkaebier, an Asian-inspired craft brewery in Oakland
- Daniel Hernandez with Fonda Technologies, an all-in-one platform for restaurants that provides comprehensive services to manage and grow their online presence, based in Santa Cruz
- Lisa Stoy with Green Girl Bakeshop, which makes organic, plant-based, allergy-friendly ice cream sandwiches and gelato sold in San Francisco
- Dapo Ashaolu, with Nirvana Soul Coffee Purveyors, a coffee shop with locations in San Jose and Cupertino
- Nilofer Amerzada with NUR, a San Francisco-based jewelry store
- Laurie O’Hara with Olita, an environmentally-conscious sun care company headquartered in San Rafael
- Naomi Schulze with Render Goods, an upcycled home goods store based in San Jose
- Kirsten Sedestrom with Seawoof, a company manufacturing sustainable sustainable dog gear based in Richmond
- Pauline Ang with Twrl Milk Tea, a company based in San Francisco making environmentally-friendly, plant-based milk tea and boba toppings
The Lab at ICA is an 8-week long program for early-stage businesses to help entrepreneurs strengthen their existing business model, stabilize operations, establish a path for growth, and get ready to take on capital. All companies that complete the Lab at ICA are eligible to apply for up to $50,000 in seed capital from ICA’s Seed Equity Fund. Selected entrepreneurs for this spring’s cohort, which is Cohort 5, include:
- Sydney Arkin with Bad Walter’s Bootleg Ice Cream, a lactose-free dairy ice cream company in Oakland
- Delane Sims with Delane’s Natural Nail Care, a nail care studio in San Leandro
- Elisiva Maka with Kavaia Tea, which makes custom blended herbal teas infused with kava and is based in San Jose
- Tanya Rao with Kaveri Coffee Works, a Berkeley-based coffee-company selling Indian coffee across the Bay Area
- Antonio Martinez with Negozee, a San Jose-based company supporting Latino immigrant entrepreneurs by offering expert-led, peer-driven business content en Español
- Samiat Salami with Oya Abeo, a Nigerian-inspired textile company headquartered in Oakland
- Regina Harris with Prideful Patchez, a San Francisco-based company that produces and sells socially conscious statement patches, clothing, and accessories
- Charbel Mawad with Projo*, which manufactures protein-enhanced cold brew coffee with all natural ingredients and is based in San Jose
- Thuong Tan with Noodelist, which makes premium plant-based instant noodles in Palo Alto
“Every member of our Accelerator and Lab cohorts brings incredible entrepreneurial spark and passion,” said Allison Kelly, CEO of ICA Fund. “We create an environment that helps them fulfill their visions, create good jobs, and build economic prosperity that is shared among their employees and their communities. The transformative power of entrepreneurship can build a more inclusive and resilient economy for years to come.”
Participants in the Accelerator and Lab are chosen based on their potential for growth and commitment to closing racial and gender wealth gaps.
This spring’s Accelerator and Lab cohorts are part of a historic small business boom that has created all net job growth since the pandemic, driving the most equitable labor market on record. In 2021, ICA companies experienced a 30% increase in jobs, 13% wage growth and 39% revenue growth; they also raised $29 million in capital.