St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective opens applications for E3 Leadership Institute following successful first cohort

The St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective (STLEEC), a cross-sector collaborative that advocates for equity – primarily related to race and gender – and fosters system-level change within the St. Louis entrepreneur community, has opened applications for its E3 St. Louis Leadership Institute (E3).  Facilitated by Forward Cities President and CEO, Fay Horwitt, E3 is…

Image courtesy St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective
Image courtesy St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective

The St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective (STLEEC), a cross-sector collaborative that advocates for equity – primarily related to race and gender – and fosters system-level change within the St. Louis entrepreneur community, has opened applications for its E3 St. Louis Leadership Institute (E3). 

Facilitated by Forward Cities President and CEO, Fay Horwitt, E3 is designed for corporate, civic, philanthropic, and startup leaders who play an active role in advancing the inclusivity of the community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. E3 Institute will welcome a second cohort in its next two-part session September 23 and October 7 this year. Registration is now open at https://www.stlequitycollective.org/e3

Graduates of E3’s inaugural cohort consisted of Brian Matthews, general partner of Cultivation Capital; Sam Fiorello, CEO of Cortex; Eric Gulve, president of BioGenerator and executive VP of BioSTL; Dan Lauer, executive director of UMSL Accelerate; and Emily Breedlove, executive director of TechSTL. Over the course of two days, cohort members were offered the opportunity to collaborate together on exploring tactics, systems, and policy changes to build more equitable pathways to business success. 

STLEEC Board Member and TechSTL Executive Director Emily Breedlove explained, “We were confident that the E3 Institute would offer an eye-opening and timely experience for area leaders. Without acknowledging the systemic and institutional barriers, we can’t work together to build a more equitable way forward. Programs like E3 give organizations the language, the tools, and the confidence to take bold steps forward, even when navigating such a complex challenge. I was honored to be on the STLEEC Board and part of the planning team, as well an E3 attendee myself to better equip TechSTL to make innovation more inclusive.” 

Focused on delivering immediate action items for the team to start implementing within their own organizations, the group spent time together learning about the history of racial disparity in St. Louis, the dynamics of systemic barriers, and ways to work as a community to build healthier startup pathways. The cohort engaged in discussion of gaps in St. Louis’ support for diverse entrepreneurs including financing, mentoring, and access to networks, as well as opportunities to collaborate in addressing needs.  

E3 participant Brian Matthews said: “We need to continuously learn and be intentional about improving diversity within the entrepreneurship ecosystem and investment community. The E3 shines a light on this issue, and I found it very helpful.” 

Each session features an interactive training experience, a local guest speaker, and a practical exercise designed to put learned concepts into action, while also providing participants with the space to expand on the interpersonal side to tackling this important work collaboratively.  

Dan Lauer, executive director of the UMSL DEI Accelerator and recent St. Louis INNO Fire Award Winner for Fire Starter/Community Builders, said: “For me, participating in the E3 Institute provided an opportunity to listen. Awareness is the first step toward change. Importantly there is also intimacy and trust built with those who attended. For ecosystem players to work well together, we must know, like, and trust. E3 is a place to create that.” 

Local leaders interested in helping to advance inclusivity within the entrepreneur ecosystem can learn more and register for the next E3 cohort here

 

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