Prosperity Now Announces the RISE Challenge to Inspire Innovation and Economic Empowerment

Prosperity Now Announces the RISE Challenge to Inspire Innovation and Economic Empowerment

National Competition Will Create Lasting Change to Empower Communities

WASHINGTON, PRNewswire -- Prosperity Now is proud to announce its Rise Challenge, the next phase of the Entrepreneur Accelerator initiative, a collaboration between Prosperity Now, Avanade and Accenture. The challenge is a national team competition which asks contestants to rethink solutions to address problems underrepresented entrepreneurs face when it comes to economic access and opportunities.

"We are thrilled to be part of this transformative initiative that will martial expertise, resources and an entrepreneurial commitment from talented teams to address the barriers entrepreneurs face when starting their businesses," said Marisa Calderon, president and CEO of Prosperity Now. "Accenture and Avanade are well-known for generating new ideas and technology solutions and Prosperity Now invests in bold new ideas at the grassroots and national levels. Together, we can change these systems."

Prosperity Now's Rise Challenge is a groundbreaking initiative to foster innovation and promote economic empowerment for communities across the nation. The challenge is open to all legal United States residents in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico who are 18 or older. The competition began on March 8, 2024, and team projects must be submitted by May 15, 2024. Finalists will present to select judges at Prosperity Now's Prosperity Summit in September 2024 in Washington, D.C.

Winners will receive:

1st Place Team Prize: $75,000;

2nd Place Team Prize: $50,000; and

3rd Place Team Prize: $25,000.

"We partnered with Prosperity Now in 2022 with the goal of creating innovative solutions that would lead to impactful systemic change and greater wealth equality," said Pam Maynard, CEO, Avanade. "With the launch of the Rise Challenge, we're seeing those goals turn into tangible actions. Every entrepreneur deserves a fair start and the opportunity to achieve their full potential. I can think of no greater way for Avanade to fulfill our purpose to make a genuine human impact than by removing barriers to economic equality for those who have been kept out for so long."

"This initiative resonates deeply with our Black Founders Development program's mission to empower entrepreneurs by facilitating access to capital, securing contracts, and fostering a supportive community," said Dujon Smith, global lead of Accenture's Black Founders Development Program. "Through the Rise Challenge, we're not just envisioning change but actively cultivating it, ensuring that every entrepreneur, regardless of background, has the resources and support to thrive."

The Rise Challenge is the next step in a three-pronged approach to transform our economy to work for everyone. It was launched nearly two years ago to catalyze solutions that empower communities, break down economic barriers, and promote financial inclusion.

Teams that participate in the Rise Challenge will focus on:

How to leverage artificial intelligence or other cutting-edge solutions to overcome the technology adoption barriers faced by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs); and

How to enhance efficiency, expand reach, and drive successful outcomes for marginalized entrepreneurs.

Members of the media, stakeholders and the public are invited to follow our journey through the Rise Challenge as we work towards creating lasting change to empower communities to achieve economic prosperity.

For more information about Prosperity Now's Rise Challenge, visit

Entrepreneurs of color are disproportionately impacted when it comes to economic access and opportunities compared to their white counterparts. At today's pace of change, it will take 200–250 years to reach wealth equality. Entrepreneur Accelerator is a first-of-its-kind partnership that combines Accenture's and Avanade's technological and digital innovation capabilities with Prosperity Now's expertise in building intergenerational wealth for black and brown communities to disrupt the systems that impede growth and transform the BIPOC business ecosystem at scale.

Since 1979, Prosperity Now (formerly CFED) has been a persistent voice championing economic opportunity, innovating outside of and beyond existing systems to build power for all communities. We advance racial and ethnic economic justice by investing in bold new ideas, and we work deeply at both the grassroots and national level to impact the entire ecosystem. By setting goals for our economy and following through with targeted approaches based on need, we are equipped to drive forward and cement big structural solutions. Learn more at

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