Introducing Cibola: Minority and Women’s Technology and Entrepreneur Incubator

I’m proud to announce that we are in the beginning stages of launching Cibola, a technology and entrepreneur incubator for minorities, women entrepreneurs, and those affecting social change. For anyone that’s been following my passion projects, my Op-Ed in Crain’s, and my future goals, Cibola is that institution that will tie everything together. Teaming together with Mahrinah von Schlegel, I’m excited with where we’re going and our goals as an organization. Rather than hoping some magic grant will come around or going through 18 months of investor presentations, we decided to develop a minimal viable product (MVP) and crowdfund the project. 

Access. Population diversity. The 25th Ward is home to Pilsen, The Heart of Chicago, the most diverse ward in the city. Entrepreneurs don’t need expensive rents and downtown addresses to turn an idea into a company. They need affordable space, a community that believes they can build their dreams, and help that enables them to do just that. With your help, we can build a space that not only will strengthen Pilsen’s local entrepreneurship economy, but will be a home to all underrepresented Chicagoland Entrepreneurs and a catalyst bringing Chicago Tech into global markets.

What We Need 

Community space is not only VERY MUCH NEEDED, but going to be in heavy demand. We feel it necessary to validate this hypothesis by raising community money to help get our doors open.

  • Office space pre-sales and planned workshop money goes directly to rent, furniture and build-out.
  • The minimum amount is what bare minimum we need to get our doors open, anything beyond that will pay for better resources, a nicer center, entrepreneur curriculum, community and civic space.
  • We have an open door policy to the businesses in Pilsen — we will be doing our part to help local businesses get online and learn how to grow their revenue. You are not only helping to build something new, you are also helping to fund community economic development on a grassroots level.

The Impact

In diversity comes strength. Diversity of ethnicity, language, educational background, socioeconomics, gender, orientation, profession, and so on. If we are going to truly create a culture of innovation, we need these things — in one giant incubating melting pot.

All levels can be for personal use or you can sponsor other community members’ access.

Why Small Business and Entrepreneurship is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT to our Economic Health as a Nation:

  • Make up 99.7% of the 29.3 million busineses
  • Employ 50.2% of the nation’s private sector jobs
  • Provide 67% of workers with their first jobs
  • Produce 51% of the nation’s GDP
  • SBA estimates they create 79% of new jobs

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) reports that less than one percent of venture capital dollars invested annually has been directed to the country’s 5.8 million minority business owners, who represent 29 percent of all businesses in America. Between 2002 and 2007, the number of minority-owned firms increased 46 percent, compared to 18 percent for all U.S. firms.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2002 and 2007, the number of people employed at minority-owned businesses jumped 27 percent, while job growth for non-minority-owned firms increased less than one percent.

The MBDA asserts that closing the funding gap between minority- and non-minority-owned startups, based on the share of the adult minority population, would add $2.5 trillion to the economic output of the U.S. and create 11.8 million new jobs.

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