His twins were born prematurely just as he was starting an accelerator program in Wisconsin for one of his latest startups. Oliver, a Morehouse grad, was immediately thrust into the realities of juggling a business and a family. “Try being an entrepreneur when there are little people counting on you!” he told Hypepotamus.
“Just imagine starting an accelerator, and you have two kids in the NICU, one of whom is really fighting for his life. That’s how my parenting experience started. So I uniquely understand and really empathize with parents who are entrepreneurs,” Oliver said.
But Oliver quickly realized that the struggles associated with parent entrepreneurs are only heightened in Black and minority communities. As median wealth for Black families across the country continues to lag drastically behind white families, Oliver knew he had to create resources to help bridge the gap.
After publishing a book on the subject in 2017, and after being compelled to act in the aftermath of the summer’s George Floyd protests, Oliver founded The ParentPreneur Foundation.
For Oliver, the Foundation is taking important steps to provide not only funding opportunities and other resources to scale a business and keep a family happy and healthy.
“We’re looking at these people holistically. How can we help you level up your business, how can we help you ease your parenting lifestyle, and how can we help you raise delightful children you can send out into the world. And ultimately, how can we help you be so successful holistically that you can leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren.”
For Oliver, providing resources to improve social capital is an important part of supporting Black parent entrepreneurs across the country. “Social capital keeps us from executing on our would-be good ideas. And more insidiously, a lack of social capital keeps us from imagining what’s possible,” said Oliver.
Programs to date have included webinars ranging from how to update LinkedIn profiles to how to navigate the accelerator space. The Foundation is also dedicated to getting parent entrepreneurs the resources they need, whether its AWS credits or connections to other corporations to grow.
Legendary author and businessman Seth Godin has even done a webinar on marketing for the Foundation. Brad Feld, founder of the Foundry Group and co-founder of Techstars, gave an early seed grant to help the Foundation launch its first round of grants.
Additionally, the Foundation has dedicated to raising money to pay for therapy and mental health services for parents, which Oliver sees as an important way to support Black entrepreneurs who are juggling so much.
Those interested in supporting can donate for as little as $25.
Applications are now open for 10 $1,000 grants. Applications are due this Friday, October 23.
For Oliver, the grants are building blocks for growing the wider community. “We don’t have all the money to solve all money problems for everybody. But it is a symbol of hope and inspiration, and an invitation to join us so that we can all build and learn and grow together.”
Best of luck to all those applying!