MATTER launches second edition of mentorship program for founders of color

July 18, 2022, CHICAGO — MATTER today launched the second edition of BRIDGE, a free program designed for early-stage founders of color seeking the mentorship and resources they need to build their businesses. This year, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago will join MATTER as a flagship partner.

Access to mentorship and guidance from experienced innovators and leaders in healthcare is invaluable to entrepreneurs, yet limited access to these resources is one of the first obstacles that many entrepreneurs of color face. BRIDGE offers complimentary mentorship to underrepresented entrepreneurs who want to improve healthcare as they get started in their entrepreneurial journey — to introduce them to experienced mentors working in healthcare and innovation.

At the start of the program, entrepreneurs will be matched with a mentor who they will meet one-on-one for three months. They will also receive access to YWCA Metropolitan Chicago’s Business Fundamentals workshops. At the conclusion of the program, entrepreneurs will have a lean business plan and pitch deck. The program will run from August 31 to December 2, 2022.

“Too many founders of color get stuck in the early stages of building their businesses because they lack access to the right resources and community,” said Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER. “BRIDGE is designed to address these gaps and help us support a diverse community of entrepreneurs who are building solutions to improve health and healthcare.”

“This is our second year partnering with MATTER and we are excited about launching BRIDGE”, said Cheryl Hudson-Jackson, Director - Franchise and Business Enterprise, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. “With a focus on early-stage founders, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago’s Economic Empowerment Institute will provide entrepreneur resources and mentorship for participants in this program. It is our quest to assist these new founders as they lead the charge to improve outcomes of health inequities and advance sustainable healthy communities.”

Entrepreneurs of color and people with healthcare experience and startup knowledge who are interested in participating as a mentor or mentee can visit the BRIDGE page to learn more and apply.


At MATTER, we believe collaboration is the best way to improve healthcare. The MATTER collaborative includes more than 700 current and alumni startups from around the world, working together with dozens of hospitals and health systems, universities and industry-leading companies to build the future of healthcare. Together we are accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit and follow @MATTERhealth.

About YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

Founded in 1876, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is a social enterprise committed to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. As a leading association among a national network of more than 200 YWCAs, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago impacts tens of thousands of women and families annually through comprehensive human services provided across the region. YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is a leader in the areas of sexual violence support, early childhood and child care provider services, family support, youth STEM programming and economic empowerment. A commitment to racial justice, equity and inclusion is foundational to all YWCA programs and services. Located in the third-largest American city, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago serves as a national incubator for innovative programming, outreach and engagement strategies. YWCA Metropolitan Chicago works at both the individual and systems levels to create the truly inclusive marketplace necessary for a diverse and balanced economy. The organization is an active member of many national, state, county and city-level coalitions, advocating for policies that combat racism and positively affect women and families. Learn more at and follow @ywcachicago on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.