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About Us

The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL), founded in 2002, is an independent, not-for-profit organization that supports economic development through entrepreneurship. We are experts in creating and implementing small business programming in support of inclusion, supplier diversity, and economic development objectives.  

Our Mission

Our mission is to eradicate the systemic barriers that prevent people of color from being able to access the knowledge, networks, and capital required for entrepreneurial success and wealth creation.

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Our Vision

We envision a future with inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems in which people from historically marginalized populations have equal opportunity for success.

Our Programs


Women of Color Connecting leverages the power of relationship capital.

Because capital constraint remains a defining problem for the majority of Women of Color entrepreneurs, we are attacking this problem from a different angle. We are engaging the vast IFEL network to use their expertise and relationships to get more women of color on the grow-scale-exit trajectory to building wealth through entrepreneurship. 

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The Making of Black Angels is a movement to increase the number of black angel investors.

In recent years, the amount of angel capital going to women founders has increased with the number of women angel investors. We believe that diversity and inclusion efforts designed to increase the number of black people involved in angel investing will lead to more black entrepreneurs receiving angel capital...often the first step in getting venture capital.

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A volunteer corps of business professionals ready to help small businesses get back on the right track.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that the majority of small businesses are ill-equipped to sustain through a crisis. Historically under-resourced communities are often disproportionately impacted, as evidenced by the closure of 40% of black-owned businesses due to the pandemic. We engage business professionals in skills-based volunteerism to provide high-touch, hands-on support through our turnkey small business capacity-building system. 

Small Businesses Need Us is funded in part by a generous grant from the Verizon Foundation.

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