African American owned businesses | St. Louis Public Radio

African American owned businesses

Angela Harris delivers a curbside order at her store, EdgyChic Boutique, in Fairview Heights on May 20. She's had many customers come to both her locations wanting to shop in person.  05 20 2020
Eric Schmid | St Louis Public Radio

As economic activity resumes in the St. Louis region, business owners in the Metro East are feeling pressure to reopen even though they can’t until at least next week.

Nonessential businesses and manufacturing, barber shops, salons and retail stores will likely be able to reopen in Illinois after May 29, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s phased reopening plan. Bars and restaurants in the Metro East can only continue offering delivery or takeout until the end of June. 

Charli Cooksey (left), founder and CEO of WEPOWER, listens to entrepreneurs Reina Stovall (right) and Dr. Brittany Conners (middle) during one of Elevate/Elevar's focus group meetings on March 13, 2019.
WEPOWER

According to a report by Diversity VC and Rate My Investor, less than 1% of all venture capital funding supports black entrepreneurs and 1.8% of funding backs Latino founders.

The St. Louis organization WEPOWER aims to boost those percentages. Recently, the company initiated Elevate/Elevar, an accelerator program for black and Latino entrepreneurs. The goal is to increase their chances to build wealth and enhance economic growth in their communities.