Program Update

Santander Bank’s
Cultivate Small Business

Santander Bank’s Cultivate Small Business is designed to help early-stage entrepreneurs, especially Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), working to build and sustain food-related businesses in diverse neighborhoods.  ICIC is one of Santander’s four strategic partners in the initiative, which also include Babson College, CommonWealth Kitchen, and Latin American Economic Development Association (LAEDA).

Cultivate Small Business provides entrepreneurs with the key ingredients for success in their business including 12 weeks of industry-specific education, professional networks and mentoring as well as small capital grants. Since launching in 2017, the initiative has offered four cohorts that have graduated more than 150 participants. 

2021 Impact Snapshot: Cultivate Small Business

In 2021, Cultivate Small Business completed its fourth cohort which served the largest group of entrepreneurs to-date. The number of participants tripled from 30 per cohort to more than 90 participants representing businesses in Massachusetts and New Jersey. Each participant engaged in 22 intensive virtual learning sessions during the 12-week-long cohort, working with industry mentors and Santander coaches as they developed their own unique business pitches and action plans with concrete growth or sustainability milestones. 

3 times

In 2021, the number of participants tripled from the previous year to more than 90


Are female-owned businesses


Qualify as low- to moderate-income or area-median income


Self-identify as people of color

Alumni Spotlight

“It’s just so nice being in an environment where people understand what you’re going through. Because the outside world really doesn’t. Just to talk about things — to look at all the different aspects, to connect with people who have been doing this for a number of years, and to learn the lessons they have learned-has been amazing.”

Mona Ahmad
Mona’s Curryations, Saugus, Massachusetts

During and since the program, I’ve experienced major growth in leadership and my confidence in saying, I can do this, I have what it takes.” 

Blonde Beauchamp
thisHAITI, Boston, Massachusetts