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The Institute For Entrepreneurial Leadership’s 4th Annual Women of Color Connecting Virtual Summit (WOCCON 2022) recently rallied more than 500 participants to engage in purpose-driven action to break down barriers faced by women of color entrepreneurs, especially the lack of access to capital.

“Listen, learn, engage, then act,” said IFEL CEO Jill Johnson, referring to the capital constraints women of color face trying to build their businesses. Johnson noted that despite a five-year high in available venture capital funding, Black and Brown women entrepreneurs continue to receive a very small fraction.

IFEL addresses this by engaging its vast network of expertise and relationships to get more women of color on the grow-scale-exit trajectory to building wealth. WOCCON 2022, which was held March 8–10, brought together investors, allies, and policymakers together to open an honest dialogue and help attendees better understand how to open doors for women of color entrepreneurs.

Participants engaged with each other through a networking virtual app, and high-growth potential women of color founders showcased their companies at virtual exhibit booths. More than 20 panelists and speakers shared insights and perspectives, along with strategies for changing the status quo.

Wells Fargo was the champion sponsor of the event, with supporting sponsorship from Valley Bank and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Twelve organizations signed on as supporters and promoted the event to their respective networks.

Founded in 2002, IFEL is an independent, not‐for‐profit organization that supports economic development through entrepreneurship. IFEL works to create inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems by eradicating systemic barriers that prevent people from historically excluded populations from accessing the knowledge, networks, and capital required for entrepreneurial success and wealth creation. Learn more about IFEL at https://www.weareifel.org.

For more information on supporting the Women of Color Connecting movement, a program that IFEL launched in 2019, visit https://www.woccon.org.