Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab Awarded Kaufman grant

Community Engagement; Diversity; Faculty; Social Work

Washington University in St. Louis’ Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab (SEI Lab), a joint initiative of the Brown School and Olin Business School, has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to begin CAP STL, a project to explore how entrepreneurship affects equity and mobility.

“Capital Access Prosperity St Louis, or CAP STL, will document and explore the specific challenges and solutions of early-stage Black and Latinx entrepreneurs preparing their businesses to access capital through the WEPOWER Elevate/Elevar incubator,” said Heather Cameron, the Michael B. Kaufman Professor of Practice in Social Entrepreneurship at the Brown School and director of the SEI Lab.

“We will also work with the wider St. Louis and Midwestern entrepreneurial ecosystem to explore the feasibility and acceptance of alternative financing models to provide capital and mentorship to more Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.”

WEPOWER is a startup nonprofit that partners with Black and Latinx people, primarily in neighborhoods that have experienced disinvestment, to build political and economic power and advance equitable systems change.

CAP STL leaders will interview applicants and finalists from WEPOWER’s accelerator program to understand their path to entrepreneurship, barriers to and support for raising money, Cameron said.

For more information, visit