Being an entrepreneur is hard enough, but when you’re a member of a minority group the challenges of launching and maintaining a successful business are even greater. As a means to assist this overlooked community of creatives in overcoming these hurdles, Complex decided to launch the B.O.S.S. mentorship program. The 12-week initiative was created with the goal of connecting BIPOC, women and LGBTQI small business owners with industry experts and allies in an effort to help these entrepreneurs and side hustlers thrive. The B.O.S.S. program includes weekly one-on-one meetings with in-house thought leaders, talks with C-suite executives, potential inclusion in the Complex SHOP spotlight, and an estimated $250,000 worth of media and promotional value within the Complex ecosystem as well as amplification across the Complex platform.

The submission process for the B.O.S.S. program began in December 2020, which resulted in 270+ impressive and worthy applicants. After going through the painstaking process of reviewing them all, we’ve narrowed the pool down to four applicants that we’ll be working with over the course of the next year: Black People Will Swim, Claima Stories, Wing Zero Apps and Swatchcandy. Read on to learn more about the stories behind these amazing small businesses, as well as a group of honorable mentions below. Click here for more information and updates on Complex’s B.O.S.S. initiative.