Local Arizona program helps Black entrepreneurs accelerate

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One local first Arizona program will serve as an accelerator for Arizona’s black entrepreneurs. Through the “We Rise Program,” business owners meet bi-weekly to receive classroom instruction and mentorship from black entrepreneurs. Carmen Attikossie, the “We Rise” senior manager of small business development, joined us to explain the program.

The “We Rise Program” is a six-month program where the program meets with black-owned businesses to introduce them to fundamental skills to succeed as business owners. “When people are not attending the class, they are in peer groups,” Attikossie said. The purpose is to build a cohort for business owners to get to know each other and be leaders. Each business is introduced to mentors throughout the industry. Attikossie mentioned that each volunteer mentors about two-to-three hours a month.

“We want businesses to be educated in what options they have in accessing capital, how to build a relationship, and much more,” she said. “A business plan can be intimidating. I’ve been there where I have to write a business plan and not have anyone guide me.” Attikossie added that with the “We Rise” program tries to alleviate some stress by teaching businesses how to write business plans. There are modules assigned for each section of the business plan.

Before her time at “We Rise,” Attikossie spent two years working for a company in Africa at the African Leadership University. “I was in charge of designing a program. Specifically, I worked on the student ventures program,” she said. Attikossie’s goal is to make it easier for people to process knowledge and make a smooth transition for people pursuing entrepreneurship.

To learn more about the program, visit localfirstaz.com and click on “We Rise.”


Carmen Attikossie, the We Rise Senior Manager of Small Business Development

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