When Angela Benton, founder and CEO of the NewME accelerator (think major help to develop and fund your concept) reached out to EBONY.com in a hunt for the #NEXTBIGTECHIDEA, we hopped on it. Hello?!

Her message now, as it was back when she was featured on CNN's 2011 Black in America, is simple: just because Silicon Valley is notoriously White and male does not mean that there is no money for you. Just the opposite, in fact, since she began NewME she's helped Black tech start ups earn nearly $8M in funding to date. And now, through the  NewME VR virtual accelerator, you can win a six-month membership to tap into that cash from wherever you are!

However, before you sign up, EBONY.commers, check out Angela's 3 simple, insider tips for how to go from idea to funded entrepreneur.


1. Solve a Real Problem

Investors get pitched all day every day on pretty much everything under the sun. If you have an idea that you want to raise money for, start with solving a real problem. While starting another photo sharing app might be cool, what real world problem/need is it really solving? Also ask yourself if your idea is actually just a feature that can easily be implemented by a larger competitor—and put you out of business. Identifying how you will make people's lives easier or better is the first step in getting an investor's attention and will differentiate you for the ‘Mr. Me Too’s’ she’s currently getting pitched.

2. Build Something

So now you have a great idea that solves a real problem, your next step is to actually build something.  Most people think, “But I need the money to actually build something!” What seems like a ‘chicken or egg’ problem actually isn’t. What you need to put your time and energy into is building something that is minimally acceptable for your customer. That means it might not be a fully blown-out product. You need to narrow down your idea to the basic features that will make your product functional and “hack it” or “fake it til you make it.” Generally this means you will use the resources you have available: Woo forms, manual processes, templates/themes, freelance developers, etc. to get something up and running.  It’s important NOT to put a significant amount of time in this step simply because it’s still an experiment and you don’t know if it can become a real business yet.

3.  Get Traction

Traction means users or paying customers.  It’s better if it’s both!  Let’s be honest. Investors won’t give you ANY money for your idea, $5 or $1MM, if they don’t know how they will be able to make it back. The easiest way to show this is to prove that someone is willing to pay you for a product and/or service and that the product/service that you are selling is scalable. Having a scalable product/service simply means there is a large enough market size. Investors are looking for BIG opportunities, so your market size will be looked at as a reflection of the business opportunity you are presenting.

Good luck! Register here (don't worry, ideas are protected).