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The Center for Talent and Opportunity is a partnership of the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute, MEI Capital, and InnoPower through the Sagamore Institute focused on closing the wealth gap of women and minorities by cultivating inclusive startup communities and entrepreneurial ecosystems. Each partner brings assets to the ecoystem for founders to access capital, shared resources, mentor networks, and leadership insights.

Today in America, Black, LatinX, and female entrepreneurs access less than 2% of venture capital.

Our Mission

To close the wealth gap for women and minorities by cultivating inclusive startup communities and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Our Vision

Indiana, North Texas and Florida are premier marketplaces for women and minority founders to start or grow any tech or tech-enabled business from bootstrap to exit.

Our Values

  • We put new majority founders first.
  • We give before we get.
  • We intensely love where we are.

Startup Communities

A start-up community is a group of people that–through their interactions, attitudes, interests, goals, sense of purposed, shared identity, fellowship, collective accountability, and stewardship of place–are fundamentally committed to helping entrepreneurs succeed.

Startup Communities are Systems within Systems.

The ultimate purpose of an entrepreneurial ecosystem is to produce startups, generate jobs, and create economic value.  Startup communities have a different purposed, which is simply to help entrepreneurs succeed.

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Our Story

In 2020, $156.2 billion was invested in venture capital across the US, and $290.1 billion in returns were generated when founders exited, making it one of the largest and fastest generators of wealth for investors, founders, and the thousands of individuals involved in the industry.

But in 2020, only around 2 percent of the year’s venture capital investment was raised by Black and Latinx founders. Female founders raised even less. This disparity in VC funding not only perpetuates gender, racial and ethnic wealth disparity but reduces the economic vitality these leaders bring to the marketplace. With its impact fund and family of partner organizations, the Center for Talent and Opportunity will increase the talent pipeline and capital raised by rapid-growth women and minority founders.

In June 2021, Blair Milo joined Sagamore to launch the Center for Talent & Opportunity, a new partnership of Sagamore, MEI Capital, InnoPower focused on closing the wealth gap for women and minorities through entrepreneurship. As the State of Indiana’s first cabinet-level secretary for career connections and talent, she worked with regions across the state to align human capital with the economy’s growth opportunities. Now, through Sagamore, Blair is joining forces with Emil Ekiyor of InnoPower, and Jaylon Smith of MEI Capital to leverage the power of the private sector to equitably grow talent and opportunity with women and minority entrepreneurs.

  • Our Partners
  • Our Team

Innopower

InnoPower Indy Inc. is a Black-owned and led community development organization that works with communities and stakeholders to create capacity-building opportunities for underrepresented businesses and professionals in education, workforce development, and entrepreneurship. Innopower understands that the problem of generational poverty cannot be blamed on a lack of Black creativity, innovation and risk-taking to establish, grow and scale businesses that can produce jobs and wealth. 

MEI Capital

The Minority Entrepreneurship Institute (MEI) Capital seeks to close the economic and educational gap for minority entrepreneurs. Through annual pitch competitions, we make direct investment into minority-owned businesses in Indiana, Texas, and Florida. MEI has invested $850,000 in eight portfolio companies to date, which have gone on to raise an additional $5M in investments and grants since joining our community. MEI Founder Jaylon Smith has committed $2.5 million over 10 years to this cause and leverages his platform as an NFL player and business owner to encourage peers in professional sports and the marketplace to co-invest in minority entrepreneurs. 

COhatch

Work. Meet. Live. It’s the COhatch tagline but it’s also our mission statement. COhatch reinvents work in America by blending enhanced productivity with family and community well-being. In other words, success is measured in human flourishing and community renewal. Their method is forged in being a mixed-used developer, owner, and technology-enabled operator of spaces—think: “Community Town Hall 2.0”. COhatch serves the emerging entrepreneur alongside small businesses, large corporations, nonprofits and churches. At each location, they build partnerships to incubate social impact and infuse civic enterprise.

Innopower

InnoPower Indy Inc. is a Black-owned and led community development organization that works with communities and stakeholders to create capacity-building opportunities for underrepresented businesses and professionals in education, workforce development, and entrepreneurship. Innopower understands that the problem of generational poverty cannot be blamed on a lack of Black creativity, innovation and risk-taking to establish, grow and scale businesses that can produce jobs and wealth. 

MEI Capital

The Minority Entrepreneurship Institute (MEI) Capital seeks to close the economic and educational gap for minority entrepreneurs. Through annual pitch competitions, we make direct investment into minority-owned businesses in Indiana, Texas, and Florida. MEI has invested $850,000 in eight portfolio companies to date, which have gone on to raise an additional $5M in investments and grants since joining our community. MEI Founder Jaylon Smith has committed $2.5 million over 10 years to this cause and leverages his platform as an NFL player and business owner to encourage peers in professional sports and the marketplace to co-invest in minority entrepreneurs. 

COhatch

Work. Meet. Live. It’s the COhatch tagline but it’s also our mission statement. COhatch reinvents work in America by blending enhanced productivity with family and community well-being. In other words, success is measured in human flourishing and community renewal. Their method is forged in being a mixed-used developer, owner, and technology-enabled operator of spaces—think: “Community Town Hall 2.0”. COhatch serves the emerging entrepreneur alongside small businesses, large corporations, nonprofits and churches. At each location, they build partnerships to incubate social impact and infuse civic enterprise.