By Shirley Hawkins
SOUTH LOS ANGELES — In September, six innovative creatives and business owners from all over the country collaborated to launch Slauson Ventures, a community collective organization that offers events, resources, workshops and mentoring for young Black entrepreneurs.
Slauson Venture’s General Operations Manager Janine Thomas recalled that while growing up in an inner-city neighborhood in Michigan she always yearned to start a business.
“But I didn’t have access to resources,” she said. “Then I was transferred to a high school in a nearby suburban community and I was shocked by all of the access to resources they had.
“The stark differences in the two neighborhoods immediately made me realize that the Black community needed more resources and support for budding entrepreneurs,” she said.
Thomas added that Slauson Ventures took a year of brainstorming and planning to develop a platform with her colleagues.
“We found that there wasn’t a space for creative entrepreneurs and business owners of color to commune and to really be able to collaborate and to help each other monetize their businesses,” said Thomas, who added that most of the members, who now number 55 and range in age from 25 to 40, find them through social media.
“Slauson Ventures wants to help entrepreneurs and creatives receive the mentorship and financial support they need to further develop their businesses.”
Thomas, who is involved in Slauson Ventures’ membership program, said that Slauson Ventures has entered into a collaboration with Google.
“We have established a partnership with Google that will help us seek out resources for advertising on social media and other online platforms,” said Thomas, who also operates a virtual assistant business.
Slauson Ventures is currently in the midst of a membership drive and is offering student memberships for $20 a month, founding memberships for $25 a month and VIP founding memberships for $75 a month.
Membership includes monthly excursions, access to a private Facebook community, invitation to a quarterly brunch, access to a monthly business resource kit and invitations to members-only events.
Other exclusive events include the Grind Out held on the fourth Saturday of each month, a 12-hour grinding session where fellow entrepreneurs, creatives and small business owners maximize their productivity by sharing ideas and building collaborations and community.
The Power Hour, held the second Saturday of the month, is a 90-minute virtual coworking session for entrepreneurs, creatives and small business owners to meet using Zoom to develop their strategy, work on projects and to do lists as well as to connect and collaborate with other members.
The Brunch Squad is held the second Sunday of the month to help build relationships and connections at various brunch locations in Los Angeles.
Thomas felt that launching Slauson Ventures on Slauson Avenue in South Los Angeles was the perfect spot for the collective.
In the meantime, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the collective has pivoted most of its programs and services online.
“We want to build confidence in our members as well as to educate them,” Thomas said. “When they come from a place of knowledge and experience it will help them to progress in their success toward confidently becoming an entrepreneur or business owner,” Thomas said.
Slauson Ventures can be reached at slausonventures.com.
Shirley Hawkins is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.