From Candles to Eyewear, Tech to Fashion: Impact Ventures Names 10 Businesses To Dallas Growth Accelerator

Hailing from Dallas to Houston to Atlanta, founders from 10 diverse businesses will unite in the Summer 2023 Impact Growth Accelerator. Participating companies—tech or tech-enabled, consumer goods, or growth-oriented service-based—must be in business for at least two years with $50,000 to $250,000 in revenue.  

Dallas-based Impact Ventures announced 10 businesses in its Summer 2023 Impact Growth Accelerator presented by Santander Consumer Bank, who will receive education, training, mentorship, and funding opportunities via the program.

Impact Ventures is a nonprofit 501c3 organization and startup accelerator with a mission to empower “talented, yet underestimated” women and communities of color to create generational wealth through inclusive entrepreneurship and integrated capital.

Benjamin J. Vann, Impact Ventures founder and CEO, says its team has spent the past four months revamping the accelerator.

“Utilizing survey feedback from past programs, we’ve integrated a new platform for entrepreneurs to be able to access resources, check-in with their mentors, book appointments with staff, and follow curriculum all in one place,” Vann said in a statement. “What we’ve heard from our founders is that due to barriers in accessing capital, they’re taking every opportunity they can to build connections and acquire funding.”

The introduction of Impact Ventures’ Impact Growth Accelerator now provides founders with precisely that chance, Vann said, noting the nonprofit’s mission to reduce wealth disparity in North Texas and beyond.

The 12-week program began on May 13.

Impact Ventures said the entrepreneurs must be accepted into the program through an application process that evaluates the viability and readiness of the business.

The program targets outcomes of job creation, revenue growth, and capital readiness for businesses that are tech or tech-enabled, consumer products or goods, and growth-oriented service-based, Impact Ventures said.

Participating businesses must be in business for at least two years, located in North Texas or U.S.-based, and have between $50,000 to $250,000 in revenue.  

This group is Impact Ventures’ seventh cohort. In recent years, the program was held twice a year, but major updates to the program including upgrades in technology and added staff shifted the program timing.

Additional program verticals also are in the works to launch in 2024, Vann says.

The accelerator has support from more than 50 mentors from various industries such as finance, product, and sales. Presented by Santander Consumer USA, it’s supported in part by Bank of America, Charles Schwab, Comerica, JPMorgan Chase, Hillcrest Bank, Capital One, Stand Together, Communities Foundation of Texas, and The Dallas Foundation.

Impact Ventures said that via the program, it offers an opportunity for the community at large to meet and engage with its current and past cohort members.

The organization will host a community happy hour at Pegasus Park on June 21. To culminate the program, Impact Ventures will have a graduation ceremony for its current founders and features a live pitch for qualifying founders to win cash prizes. Both events are open to the public.

Meet Cohort 7

Here are the founders and companies in the cohort:

Anthony Hester Jr., Private Label by Velavida

Private Label by Velavida of Richardson offers private-label candles with low minimum orders. They create a premium candle line for their customers and aim to deliver orders within two to three weeks.

Christabel Agbonkonkon, BlackUp Technologies

BlackUp Technologies is a Dallas-based company that uses AI and ML tech to connect black professionals to open jobs. They also help companies expand and maintain a strong Black workforce​​.

Ajia Allen, Digalyne

Digalyne is a firm that provides digital strategy consulting for small and mid-sized businesses, helping them to embrace digital using Agile methodologies and human-centered design. Digalyne is a remote-in-action digital strategy collective and operates remotely​.

Victoria Adegbola, J.O.A.N. Atelier

J.O.A.N. Atelier is a Houston-based design and fashion brand.

Rupesh Poudel, Danfe Tea

Danfe Tea is a Dallas company that specializes in sourcing premium quality high-altitude teas directly from the Himalayan Tea Mountains of Nepal.

Oyindamola “Honey” Apanpa, Honey’s Scented Company

Honey’s Scented Company of Dallas creates wickless, flameless candles infused with dried flowers and herbs for a richer fragrance. The handmade scented candles and other products are melted with an electric wax warmer.

Lisa Nixon, Hair Rollers Beauty Supply

Hair Rollers Beauty Supply is a DFW-based hair and beauty retail company co-founded in 2020 by mother-daughter duo Jada and Lisa Nixon. The company started with an e-commerce website in 2020 and eventually expanded to pop-up shops and local delivery throughout DFW​.

Michael Jefferson, Oowee Sports Nation

Oowee Sports Nation is a Frisco-based social networking platform dedicated to youth sports. It aims to bridge a gap between pre-collegiate athletes who lack exposure and reaching the next level. The platform wants to provide a space for athletes, parents, fans, coaches, sports trainers, and sports affiliates worldwide to connect and be seen, heard, and recognized.

Saria Hawkins, Manifest Your Purpose

Hawkins set out to design a unique and chic collection of stationery and office accessories for purpose-driven women, particularly Black women, who she felt were not adequately represented in the products they use every day. Manifest Your Purpose aims to help “Black female corporate professionals and entrepreneurs everywhere to see themselves in each product and service” it offers.

Tiffany Mcintosh, Eye Candy Creations

Atlanta-based Eye Candy Creations, launched in 2013, creates, markets, and distributes eyewear collections. Focused on the film and entertainment industry, the company works directly with production companies, TV networks, music labels, and celebrities, providing all their eyewear needs for TV shows, films/TV, print, editorials, photo shoots, music videos, events, and more. Eye Candy has become known for eyewear product placement within the optical market and develops both celebrity-branded eyewear collections and private-label eyewear collections.

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