Cohort collectively represents approximately $54.3 million in annual revenue
Baton Rouge, La. (August 31, 2022) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced the first cohort of the Drive Minority Business Accelerator powered by ExxonMobil in partnership with Interise’s award-winning StreetWise ‘MBA’™ curriculum. A total of eleven minority-owned businesses comprise the class, collectively representing approximately $54.3 million in annual revenue and employing 258 full-time equivalent employees.
Members of the inaugural cohort include:
- Joshua August, Chicken Shack
- Jelani Clark, Trendsic Corporation
- Billy Duncan, Real Property Management Premium, LLC
- Norisha Glover, NRK Construction
- Nenette Gray, Lemonade Creative Marketing, LLC
- Rodney Greenup Jr., Greenup Industries LLC
- Xavier Hoskins, DXI Health Solutions, LLC
- Lakeisha Robichaux, Chief of Minds
- Evon Roquemore, Bright Enterprise
- Craig Stevens, Genesis 360, LLC
- Collis Temple, III, E.P. Breaux Utility Services, LLC
Drive powered by ExxonMobil is part of BRAC’s five-year strategic plan, BRING IT!, which identifies “creating a more inclusive economy,” as one of BRAC’s key goals. The annual program is designed for minority small business owners who want to take their business to the next level within the Capital Region. Interise’s StreetWise ‘MBA’ program is a hands-on, cohort-style program that provides minority business owners with the knowledge, resources, and networks necessary for their businesses to scale, including tools to advance their business operations, financial management, marketing and sales, human resources, business strategy development, access to capital, and contract development.
“We are grinning ear to ear today: This announcement brings to reality a dream we’ve had for four years,” said Adam Knapp, BRAC president & CEO. “Launching a minority business accelerator in the Capital Region has been an interest of BRAC’s since our 2018 Canvas trip to Cincinnati, Ohio. We saw firsthand a proven business accelerator model for growing minority owned companies that led to greater economic inclusion in their region. This is a very impressive inaugural cohort. Its strength points to the amount of potential opportunity. We look forward to celebrating and supporting these companies throughout the program and as they grow in the region.”
Ronnie Slone, president and CEO of The Slone Group, will facilitate the Drive accelerator on behalf of BRAC. Slone brings over 30 years of experience in management, human resources, training facilitation and professional staffing with several Fortune 500 and small businesses alike. Combined with his wealth of experience, Slone will use Interise’s StreetWise ‘MBA’™ curriculum with support from BRAC’s team to develop members of the cohort.
“I am excited to see the exceptional minority-owned businesses that will be part of the inaugural cohort,” said Darrell Byers, CEO of Interise. “Like BRAC, Interise is committed to building an inclusive economy, and our partnership is a critical component to ensuring minority business owners in the city are connected to opportunities that lead to wealth and job creation. After taking the StreetWise ‘MBA’ program, I have no doubt these minority-owned businesses will expand their revenues and create new high-quality jobs for the community.”
The program is funded through generous contributions from companies across the region who continue to commit to advancing economic inclusion within the Baton Rouge Area. Program sponsors include ExxonMobil, Capital One, and Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Community partners include Phelps Dunbar LLP, LSU E.J. Ourso College of Business, b1 FOUNDATION, MetroMorphosis, Baton Rouge Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce and the Southern University Law Center.
“The expert training and critical resources provided through the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s team, the Interise’s StreetWise ‘MBA’ program, and Ronnie Slone will make the new Drive Minority Business Accelerator a powerful capacity building experience for area minority-owned businesses,” said ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Public and Governmental Affairs Manager Stephanie Cargile. “This program aligns with our company’s focus to ensure sustainable growth and future success for local businesses. We are excited that so many other BRAC investors are committing to sponsor the initiative while providing mentorship and business opportunities to this inaugural cohort.”
The cohort will begin classes on September 13 and meetly monthly through June 2023. More information about the program can be found at brac.org/drive or by contacting Darrell L. Johnson, Jr., BRAC’s Manager of Diversity & Inclusion Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) is an aggressively ambitious regional economic development organization with a bias for action. BRAC seeks to push Baton Rouge beyond the status quo, unleash its potential, and support a vibrant business community that believes the finish line does not exist. BRAC seeks to accelerate economic opportunity in the Baton Rouge Area, for everyone, through BRING IT! Baton Rouge, its five-year, regional strategic plan. Learn more about BRAC at brac.org.
ExxonMobil, one of the largest publicly traded international energy and petrochemical companies, creates solutions that improve quality of life and meet society’s evolving needs.
The corporation’s primary businesses – Upstream, Product Solutions and Low Carbon Solutions – provide products that enable modern life, including energy, chemicals, lubricants, and lower-emissions technologies. ExxonMobil holds an industry-leading portfolio of resources, and is one of the largest integrated fuels, lubricants and chemical companies in the world.
Interise builds an inclusive economy through small business development, supporting the growth of minority-owned small businesses and small businesses located in low- and moderate-income communities. Interise’s award-winning StreetWise ‘MBA’™ uses a peer-learning method to provide business owners with the knowledge, know-how, and networks necessary to grow and scale. As Interise companies grow, they contribute to local job creation and build community wealth. Interise companies historically create new jobs at 5x the rate of the private sector, and are responsible for the creation of over 30,000 new jobs. Interise partners with government agencies, anchor institutions, and business associations to make locally branded StreetWise ‘MBA’™ programs available in 75+ cities, nationwide. Strategic Growth Partners include the Kauffman Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and the Prudential Foundation. More information can be found at interise.org, @StreetWise_MBA and facebook.com/Interise.