Black Business Accelerator

As the nation responds to a global pandemic, a threatened small business economy, and explosive and transformative Black Lives Matters protests, there has never been a time of more promise for marginalized communities. For Black entrepreneurs and business owners there is a major shift happening towards economic empowerment. 

Locally, community members have demanded the establishment of and increased support for Black-owned businesses, especially on Hilltop. In response to community engagement and requests, Spaceworks Tacoma is launching a new business development program that specifically centers Black entrepreneurs and prepares them for the +100,000 square feet of retail space slated to arrive in the coming years. The Black Business Accelerator aims to continue the long and rich history of Black-owned businesses on Hilltop and to decrease systemic barriers in a changing neighborhood. 

Under the leadership of Kiara Daniels and Drea Baines, our approach adapts our existing Incubator and centers Black owners and entrepreneurs to:

  • Develop and execute winning business plans for the purpose of starting, growing, and funding their enterprises
  • Learn top strategies, tools, and resources for growing a sustainable business
  • Learn about upcoming opportunities from community partners and developers
  • Engage with a broader network of invested individuals, entities, and groups
  • Prepare for, and receive advocacy on behalf of, obtaining a physical location on Hilltop

This is a multi-year effort that brings together community partners, business professionals, and developers. The first phase is a 2-month pilot cohort, launching this summer and limited to 12 businesses. Applicants will be considered based on their commitment, business model, and desire to contribute to the community and economy on Hilltop. Additional resources and programming will become available in future phases.

To get involved and to support the Black Business Accelerator, please contact 

Application Period: April 28, 2021 – May 20, 2021
Cohort Dates: June 1, 2021 – July 13, 2021

Is this the right program for me?
Are you a Black-owned business that has been operating for at least six months and wants to do business on Hilltop? Keep reading and apply below.

Are you a Black-owned business that is in the idea phase or not yet operating? Fill out this brief form to meet with Kiara Daniels, program coordinator, and determine next steps:

The Black Business Accelerator is a 6-week pilot cohort that prepares Black entrepreneurs and business owners to succeed in commercial spaces on Hilltop. Cohort members join weekly sessions this summer to further their business models and work one-on-one with business professionals. 

Who Should Apply: Black-owned businesses in the Greater Tacoma area looking for a permanent space in the Hilltop Business District
What’s Included: Cohort classes, individual coaching, resource development, networking, and access to business experts in accounting, marketing, web design, and photography
Outcomes: Business plan, marketing strategy, accounting system, branding, basic website, and product/business photographs, and microloans
Dates: Tuesdays  06/1-07/13

  • Week 1: Tuesday 06/01 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm
  • Week 2: Tuesday 06/08 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm
  • Week 3: Tuesday 06/15 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm
  • Week 4: Tuesday 06/22 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm
  • Week 5: Tuesday 06/29 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm
  • Week 6: Tuesday 07/06 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm
  • Week 7: Tuesday 07/13 from 5:30pm- 7:30pm 

Topics Include:

  • Orientation and Business Foundations Review
  • Licensing, certification, insurance, etc.
  • Business Financials, Accounting
  • Becoming Profitable, Funding Types and Opportunities & Preparation 
  • Marketing, Branding and Culture
  • Hiring Employees, Team Building
  • Public Speaking and Pitches
  • Graduation/Pitch Presentation Practice and Peer Review
  • Graduation/Pitch Competition – Class graduation ceremony and presentations followed by Q&A

Kiara Daniels -Business & Community Development Coordinator
Facilitator: Drea Bains- NABE

We intend to offer at least 2 cohorts in this first phase of the program. The goal of Phase 1 is to get everyone up to speed with the basic tools and systems to run a successful business. The goal of Phase 2 is to work with lenders and developers to transition businesses into new commercial spaces and help them thrive. New and existing businesses are encouraged to apply.

Program Leads

“Working in community advocacy has been the bedrock of my life and career. As a Hilltop native it’s extremely important to me that I do my part in slowing down displacement of longtime residents and businesses while preserving the authenticity and culture of the neighborhood. That’s why this program is so near and dear to me—we’re stepping up and leveraging our access to resources in sustainable and empowering ways.”
Kiara Daniels, Business and Community Development Coordinator, Spaceworks Tacoma
“I’ve been working with Black businesses for 11 years, so I’ve been able to see, hear and feel the challenges as well as the victories. This is a chance to leverage a sweet spot in our history—a time when private industry and government are finally coming into alignment on behalf of the Black economic equity cause. I’m honored to work with such dynamic, resilient people on a daily basis and look forward to what we can accomplish through this innovative new program.”
Drea Baines, Program Facilitator; CEO, I’MPossible Consulting
“I have worked in accounting for more than eight years. When I heard about the Black Business Accelerator Program I was excited to get involved. I know many business owners in our community do not have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of operating finances in business. As a Tacoma native, I am eager to be a part of something that will help business owners fully realize their growth potential. I am especially thrilled to support a program that will make a difference in my own community. I feel honored for the opportunity to give back to such a proud and resilient group.”
Asia Dillingham, A+ Bookkeeping & Payroll Services CEO, Dedicated Resource Provider and Small Business Owner