Fearless Congratulates SBA on Ascent Launch

Jan 27, 2021

More than 12 million women in the United States are entrepreneurs with their own businesses, but women often struggle to attain capital and scale at the same pace as male entrepreneurs.

The Small Business Administration launched Ascent, a first-of-its-kind, free digital eLearning platform geared to help women entrepreneurs grow and expand their businesses.

At the launch event, SBA administrator Jovita Carranza said Ascent aims to offer a curriculum on a par with what a typical MBA program offers.

Fearless is proud to have been a part of Ascent’s development, along with our partners: TargetGovEleven PeppersSix Red MarblesJumpStart HRSkylight, and Clarity.

“This has been a great opportunity to directly encourage and support women entrepreneurs and provide them with something they can be excited to share with their peers,” said Fearless CEO Delali Dzirasa.

In the two-plus years Fearless worked on Ascent, we spoke with women entrepreneurs from across the country and learned how needed this resource truly is. At launch, Ascent comprises five learning journeys, focused on strategic marketing, people, business financial strategy, access to capital, and disaster and economic recovery. The team developed the first journey of economic recovery with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.

“Ascent is targeted at an important group of business owners who are often left behind, women in the middle stage of their business journey,” Dzirasa said. “These are women entrepreneurs who are beyond the startup stage and generating revenue but need support and resources to grow.”

Fearless and its partners strived to help build a platform that can become the go-to resource for entrepreneurs with business-related questions, similar to the StackOverflow.com model. Learning is as much about asking questions as it is about helping others find answers.

“The work that TargetGov did with the Fearless team on the SBA Ascent program will enable and empower women entrepreneurs to launch and grow small businesses across the United States. This free access to a wide range of tools about business startup and growth supports the SBA’s mission in a manner that is accessible to all at any time,” said Jenny Bonilla, TargetGov COO.

We believe an updated learning system is useless unless it ultimately increases the number of successful women entrepreneurs in the U.S. and improves the strength of their businesses. To develop a successful platform, learning instructional designers from Eleven Peppers and Six Red Marbles worked with the SBA to lay out the foundation of the journeys and determine the assets needed for each path and excursion.

Ascent is meant to be accessible to entrepreneurs no matter their schedule and time constraints. The platform features long-form content, infographics, and videos, so that an entrepreneur with 20 minutes or two hours can learn something new.

“Our CEO, Kristen Parks, is the creative vision of Eleven Peppers, and we are proud of being a small business, woman-owned company,” said Eleven Peppers creative director Melissa London. “So providing other women with the tools to grow and advance is near and dear to our heart and something we were excited to be a part of.”

Throughout 2021, more journeys will be added to Ascent so the platform can grow with entrepreneurs. The platform is part of a broad expansion of business resources for women, including the opening of 20 new Women’s Business Centers this year.

“Ascent will complement the Women’s Business Centers, especially as many entrepreneurs are forced to work and learn from home instead of getting in-person services,” said Robin Zaccardo, chief marketing and administrative officer for Six Red Marbles. “When we first came across the opportunity to work on Ascent, we were extremely excited by it. We’ve developed thousands of interactive learning programs for schools, publishers, and universities, and Ascent has the potential to reach and help millions of women entrepreneurs in the United States.”

This announcement was published independently of the Small Business Association. This release does not constitute or imply an endorsement by SBA or the United States government of the product, process, or service or its producer or provider. The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of the SBA or the United States government.

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