Applications are now open for the 2023 Philadelphia Media Founders Exchange

The Founders Exchange is returning to provide more Philadelphia-area BIPOC news and media entrepreneurs with access to training and grant funding to grow their businesses

Applications are now open for the 2023 Philadelphia Media Founders Exchange, a community-grounded accelerator program supporting BIPOC media and news entrepreneurs through training, one-on-one coaching, and grantmaking. 

The Philadelphia Media Founders Exchange focuses on the urgent need and opportunity to support and advance more media entrepreneurs of color to ensure communities prosper and news businesses thrive and grow sustainably on their own terms.

Self-identified media makers whose businesses are beyond the concept stage of development are encouraged to apply. The program is open to both entrepreneurs and “intrapreneurs,” those working inside of news and media organizations with enterprising endeavors. 

Applications are due by February 9, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

We hosted two virtual information sessions on January 30 and 31, 2023 to share information about the application process and eligibility for the PMFE program. You can find a recording of one of these sessions below or contact [email protected] for further questions.

The 2023 PMFE program will build upon the framework, learnings, principles, and desired outcomes from 2022 to serve a new cohort of 8-10 participants while continuing to engage and serve the first class of founders. 

The Founders Exchange launched in March 2022, and over the duration of the program, the first class of entrepreneurs received training and individual coaching on operations, revenue and monetization, and marketing to help them build profitable and sustainable media businesses. 

New cohort members will each receive a $15,000 core support grant, bootstrapping bootcamp training, and instruction from journalism and media experts covering community-powered journalism, branding and marketing, audience and partnership growth, financial modeling, raising capital, executive leadership, and emotional resilience. 

Each participant will also receive personalized coaching to help advance their goals and the opportunity to apply for additional grant support from the Founders Exchange Fund to meet their specific business needs. Members of the 2022 class will serve as mentors and guest speakers for the new participants. 

The Philadelphia Media Founders Exchange is supported by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, The Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, and the Independence Public Media Foundation.

Jos Duncan Asé, founder, executive producer, and publisher of Love Now Media, will serve as the program lead for the Founders Exchange, and Black & Brown Founders will deliver the training curriculum and coordinate with our expert contributors. 

The Founders Exchange was designed to meet the following objectives: 

  • Empower BIPOC media and news entrepreneurs to serve as honest brokers providing reliable and reflective news and information to, for, and about BIPOC communities that are often overlooked by mainstream media
  • Provide mentorship and pathways for sustainability and growth for media and news entrepreneurs that are responsive to their needs at various stages of their business development
  • Cultivate supportive networks that provide opportunities for media entrepreneurship in the local Philadelphia ecosystem
  • Support long-term relationships of trust and support between media makers and the people and organizations in the position to resource their work

In 2022, the 11 participating entrepreneurs engaged with training and coaching on revenue generation, budgeting, identifying and segmenting customers, and planning for long-term sustainability.

Members of the inaugural cohort reported leaving the program with increased confidence as business owners and a better understanding of their business models, customers, and audience. The founders became more cognizant of the value of their businesses, and their projected budget needs increased by 145% — a boost that reflected their development of scalable models for business growth. 

Click here to learn more about the 2022 Founders Exchange and meet the members of the inaugural cohort.