Hospitality design and concept firm AvroKO and its sister agency Brand Bureau launched Hospitable Bridge, an incubator to support women of color entrepreneurs in the hospitality sector. Hospitable Bridge will also provide these companies with women-led mentorship in their early stages of growth.
“With less than 2% of all venture funding going to women-owned businesses, and significantly less than that going to women-of-color-owned businesses, we saw an opportunity to leverage our hospitality knowledge and provide a platform and vehicle to champion, support, mentor, and fund female-founded and female-led business ventures whose missions are to innovate in a way that’s truly needle-moving for the hospitality industry,” says Kristina O’Neal, partner and co-founder of AvroKO and Brand Bureau. “The research shows that women-led startups have the power to generate 10% higher revenues but are often overlooked at the VC level — Hospitable Bridge aims to change that and highlight the power that female entrepreneurs bring to the table.”
All Hospitable Bridge ventures will receive $15,000 to $50,000 in pre-seed investment. The AvroKO and Brand Bureau Partners and studios will provide these businesses further support and guidance in the form of educational content, legal resources, financial guidance, and operational insight as well as consulting on public relations, graphic design, interior design, branding and strategy.
For its inaugural year, the accelerator studio is kicking off with two businesses: Spaceez with founder Alpa Patel and Think Forward Society with founder Kiki Monique.
Spaceez is a company dedicated to providing economy hoteliers with affordable interior design. Patel’s family ran a small motel in Texas where she noticed the economy hotel segment often went overlooked. Spaceez’s mission is to create a more equitable playing field across the hotel industry, ensuring all hoteliers have access to the same resources and advantages, allowing them to maximize revenues, minimize costs and deliver great guest experiences.
Think Forward Society is dedicated to creating a more inclusive and equitable future for the hospitality industry. Rooted in social entrepreneurship, TFS creates tailored strategies, content, training, tools, and other solutions to disseminate education related to race and social justice. Monique’s background includes 15 years of experience overseeing the finance, HR and operations of renowned hospitality companies. She is also a content creator whose mix of lifestyle, pop culture and thought-provoking posts have garnered her over 165,000 followers and more than 25 million views on TikTok.