MORTAR at Bounce

MORTAR at Bounce is a 15-week business accelerator that helps  existing and emerging non-tech entrepreneurs learn the nuances of business ownership and build a comprehensive business canvas.  

The program is open to everyone with a non-tech business or idea, but focuses on minority and women entrepreneurs.  We want to make sure these historically marginalized groups get the opportunity to use their talents to not just make a dollar, but to positively participate in the rise of Northeast Ohio. 

MORTAR was founded in Cincinnati in 2014. It has been credited with helping Cincinnati become the fastest-growing economic power in the Midwest for minority small business owners. (photos taken at the March 2020 Meet & Greet with the MORTAR founders)

The MORTAR at Bounce team with founders

Fall 2020 Schedule 

Applications for the fall are now closed. 

Classes start August 18 and are virtual due to the State of Ohio orders in response to the covid-19 pandemic. We will resume in-person classes at Bounce as soon as we are able.  

Pitch Night: November 17

Last class: November 24

Classes occur every Tuesday, 6-8 p.m.

  The cost is $295 for the entire 15 weeks with an 18-month alumni program to follow.

The program will be facilitated by the Bounce staff, led by Ace Epps, director of inclusive entrepreneurship.

At this time, MORTAR at Bounce is only accepting FOR-PROFIT entrepreneurs and businesses. If you are a nonprofit seeking assistance, please contact Mike Jefferson at [email protected] to learn more about our other GROW programs.

Spring 2020 Cohort 

1474 Art Inc.; Sekoya Kendrick – Helping artists customize goals and prepare a marketing strategy and facilitates art sales by working with museums, galleries, corporations and collectors.

All Better Care; Janelle Scott – A daycare that cares for children with minor illnesses while parents are at work. The service will help prevent parents from calling off from their jobs, which can cause financial difficulties.

Compassionate Catering Kandy; Aleasha Wilson – A catering company that makes candy and caramel apples, cotton candy, chocolate-covered bacon, fruit, brittle, truffles, popcorn, nuts, etc. and sells them via private party, festivals, and craft shows.

Cookie’s Chicago-Style BBQ; Nina Evans – A caterer and BBQ, expanding operations to a mobile restaurant.

Eat Speak Love; Tiffany Roper – Curates events where people have the opportunity to take advantage of all Akron has to offer in food, drink, art, music, comedy and more.

Embracing Ur Journey LLC; Angela Higgins – A dance, drum and wellness space. 

Fat T’s Cookies; Travis Howe – A line of cookie-centric baked goods, including their signature quarter-pound cookies.


Hair Geek; Sapreea English – A hair salon and barber shop, with plans to open a barber and beauty school.

Honesty Healthcare; Tiffany Adjei – Provider of homecare services for those 55 and older. 

I Was Here; Carlotta Pace – Helping individuals and families break generational cycles and patterns through healthy lifestyles.

Jenuine Cuisines; Jennifer Tidwell – A personal culinary service that offers individuals home cooking services, private parties, weekly meal planning and meal prep, and culinary ghost services.

Julia Belle’s Seasoning; Tonya Green – 100 percent natural, hand-blended seasonings, dry rubs and mixes.

Sinclair Creative; Telayne Keith – A private event planning, corporate/public exhibition planning, and production assisting service.

Sip. Savor. Soul; Dannika Stevenson – Catering services, private cooking, and food styling, as well as a cooking education program.

Sweetly Created 4 U; Brandy Coffey – Handmade scented soy dessert candles, melts, sprays and more.


This course includes:

  • Culturally competent curriculum and materials
  • Cohort model for driven entrepreneurs to support each other
  • Access to legal support
  • One-on-one mentorship to provide guidance throughout the course
  • Opportunity to pitch your idea in front of potential investors, community leaders and customers
  • Ongoing support system provided by MORTAR and partner organizations
  • Business support and brand development strategies that continue even after graduation


Although no two classes are the same, here is a typical  week-by-week outline.

  • Meet weekly for three hours 
  • “Putting in Work” outside of class 
  • Guest speakers 
  • Weekly meetings with mentors 
  • Activities 
  • Videos 
  • Reflection 
  • Celebrating success & learning from failure 

Week by week: 

  • Orientation 
  • Weeks 1-5: Foundations
  • Weeks 6-10: The Core 
  • Weeks 11-15: Really Real