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Aspire Accelerator

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The Hire 1 Women's Small Business Accelerator is Now Aspire.
You aspire to grow your business. You aspire to run your business better instead of it running you. Aspire, a women's business accelerator, is your best next move.  The Women's Center for Economic Opportunity created Aspire for women of color entrepreneurs and founders. Aspire is your resource to spark your growth specifically by deepening your skills around the backbone of your business- operations strategy and systems, supplemented with expansion of your business network, access to funding, and culturally-specific mentoring and coaching.


Program Experience

Aspire to Build A Legacy

Hire 1 is now Aspire. The new Aspire Accelerator offers a comprehensive 12 week program of over  50 hours of assessment, hybrid master-class style instruction, business advisory, coaching, and mentoring.  Access to post-certification lifetime continuous learning is an added value to your membership in the cohort. 

Our curriculum focuses on helping established

women of color CEOs grow their businesses by implementing a simple, repeatable business system that works at every stage of business.  


If you are building your legacy as a supplier or you are building in high-growth industries like tech-related, healthcare, financial services, e-commerce and more, Aspire can help you create the systems you need to attain traction, profitability and hire at least 1 full-time employee.

Unique within the Central Ohio business ecosystem, we focus on strengthening your business in four areas of operational excellence. Your experience is powered by the  integration of local business advisors, experts with lived entrepreneurial experience, and business growth partners willing to break down barriers to entry, mentor, coach and provide opportunities as the critical force-multiplier for our program CEOs.



Aspire is results focused:

90%   |    Increased revenue

90%   |    Expanded their team 

100%  |    Recommend friends attend             



The Aspire Accelerator package is offered at no charge

to women of color CEOs. 

Developed using an equity human-centered design approach rooted in the unique experiences of women of color, Aspire consists of three multi-session seminars over a 12- week period leading to your Aspire certification. You'll also join a community of high earning CEOs for thought partnership and encouragement as well as a broader network of potential partners.  In addition, you'll have access to post-certification continuous learning, business advisement, coaching and mentoring.


You will:



In a recent survey 75% of African American women said the #1 hindrance of being able to grow their businesses is that they are just plain worn out from chasing every business task! 

In Aspire, you'll learn and establish a repeatable system that you can use over and over to operate your business for the lifetime of your business, in every stage- stabilization for consistent revenue, growth and scale for increased profitability & sustainability.  Our systems  help you foresee  business challenges coming your way so you can resolve it before it stops your momentum,  gobbling up all your time, keeping you on that hamster wheel of struggle, tiny profit and barely there revenue. 



Understand and apply the core business operational competencies around refining your business concept and revenue model; accessing new customers and partners; solidifying your financials; creating a hiring strategy; and assessing and evolving your branding, sales and marketing tactics. 



Your life as a woman of color is one of your super powers. How you show up as a CEO, as a leader, reflects all that you are. In Aspire, we take the time to explore with you many of the dimensions of your greatness so you can harness your strengths, leverage the opportunities with a personal development plan that complements your business growth strategies. 

What Our CEOs Are Saying

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CEO Value

  • Capacity-Building, Growth-Centered Curriculum 

  • Executive-level Coaching and Mentoring 

  • Direct Connections with Business Leaders & Growth Partners

  • Receive Business Certification Funding & Application Support

  • Compete for a $25,000 Business Grant

Criteria To Apply

  • Women of color in business for 3+ years

  • Minimum revenue of $50,000

  • Seeking to pivot or grow their businesses as a supplier in Ohio's fast growing industries like ecommerce, healthcare, retail, small manufacturing, tech/chip manufacturing, food, transportation 

  • $99 Nonrefundable application fee

Application Deadline: January 31, 2023

Invitation: Become an
Equity Growth Partner

Our Equity Growth Partners are enterprise level organizations truly seeking to strengthen their supplier-diversity programs with procurement-ready vendors. A partnership with Aspire not only translates into accessing new suppliers but also a pathway to build capacity in your organization's current vendors. We'd love to talk with you about our Aspire to Inclusion: Building Capacity in Women-owned Businesses. As a growth partner your employees can volunteer to mentor to program participants, lead instructional sessions, share the requirements of doing business with your company with the goal of help
open up potential contracting opportunities for our graduates.

Invitation: Become a Strategic Sponsor

Our sponsors play a critical role in helping us to achieve H1A’s programmatic outcomes. These outcomes aim to achieve root-level impact for women of color entrepreneurs in Central Ohio. We take a lot of pride in being stewards of your support, and work to ensure your  organizational priorities are translated in a way that maximize the impact of your contributions.

For more information on becoming an Equity Growth Partner or a Strategic Sponsor, please reach out to Keena Smith, CEO via email at

Chief Underwriter


1409 E. Livingston Ave., Columbus, OH 43205

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