About 40 percent of Black business owners were forced to close because of COVID-19, the most among racial ethnic groups. Many did not have access to resources and funds that would keep them in business or help them recover.

The Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation saw the need to provide support and launched the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (E3).

E3 provides innovation, entrepreneurship and recovery from COVID-19. The program involves advisers who offer resources to entrepreneurs.

E3, in tandem with Reinventing Delaware, establishes conditions for successful business development, fostered through resources, in-kind support and guidance for entrepreneurs.


E3 was developed with the entrepreneur in mind. It includes collaboration with other like-minded entrepreneurial leaders who can provide real-time feedback and solutions to entrepreneurs within the ecosystem. Phases include:

Selection & Scoping

1. Online Application:

Application cycles are open periodically during the year. Subscribe to the PDFF e-newsletter for updates.

Applications are reviewed by a Regional Council that includes leaders of each county. They decide who will move to Phase One.

2. Initial Scoping:

Scoping analyzes the applicant’s business to identify areas of opportunity and growth. The entrepreneur meets with a third-party consultant for five weeks.
Together, they review the report and devise a plan to tackle prioritized growth recommendations.

3. Final Selection:

A statewide committee selects entrepreneurs to move to Phase Two. The statewide panel includes high-level entrepreneurial business leaders, c-suite executives and community stakeholders. They identify businesses to receive support up to $10,000 of in-kind professional services and provide recommendations to ensure business success.

The next application cycle will be held in April 2023. Subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay up to date on announcements.

Service Implementation

1.Targeted Support: Entrepreneurs receive customized services in five key areas:

Coaching &
Business Planning

& Promotion

Information Technology
& Infrastructure

Space Planning
& Design

Access to

2. Technical Support:

PDFF manages the relationship between the service provider and the entrepreneur by offering guidance and help with decision making.
Additional support is provided as needed.

3. Ecosystem Outreach:

All entrepreneurs continue to receive support through E3 as a trial E3 member. E3 members are encouraged and trained to be advisers to new entrepreneurs entering the ecosystem.

We’re actively recruiting new service providers and vendors. Apply today!


E3 entrepreneurs receive invaluable support from an ecosystem rooting for their success. Here’s how:

  • Step-by-step plan for business growth
  • Support from the right people at the right time
  • Long-term mentoring and relationship building
  • Marketing and promotion through other like-minded organizations
  • Leadership development for key entrepreneurs



Interested in becoming a sponsor?

If interested in Sponsoring the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, contact Stephanie Johnnie at
[email protected].