Caravanserai Project Gets $2M Grant: Hosts Pitch Competition and Graduation

By: Sharjeel Sohaib


Jun 6, 2022


On May 26, 2022, Startempire Wire hit the road to attend the Caravanserai Seed Cohort pitch competition and graduation. Representing our publication was our founder Verious Smith III.

The goal of going to the event was to provide a presence, observe the event and get interviews with each entrepreneur. The event was held at The Annenberg Theater in the Palm Springs Art Museum. The Atmosphere was, to say the least, grandiose and likely the most fitting setting for entrepreneurs whose vision is to change the world. During the event, each of the graduating startups had an opportunity to share their vision and pitch their startup. After the event, Startempire Wire got interviews with the 11 startups that presented during the event.

SEED Lab Fellows | Caravanserai Project

Anthony Jerry – Cultural Media Archive

$2 Million for Spanish Entrepreneurs

The Employment Training Panel of California awarded a $2 million grant to the Palm Springs-based Caravanserai Project to give training support and micro-grants to over 200 Spanish-speaking startup and early-stage businesses in the Inland Empire.

The grant was given at Caravanserai’s 6th Annual “graduation” and pitch competition, which took place at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

The main goal of this grant is to highlight and train unrecognized talent within historically marginalized and under-served communities and support their efforts to identify and develop pioneering paths out of inherited problems that have buried and silenced those voices.

About Caravanserai Project

Caravanserai Project was founded in 2016 as a mission-driven hybrid venture to assist social impact entrepreneurs (for-profit and nonprofit) in strengthening their organizational infrastructure and developing sustainable and relevant organizations working towards irreversible system change.

The Caravanserai Project develops and conducts technical assistance and capacity-building initiatives for companies and organizations in the Inland Empire and Southern California. Still, it also works across the country and globally. Over 1200 entrepreneurs attended its programs in 2020 and 2021β€”almost 80% of Caravanserai recipients identified as women, with a further 79% identified as BIPOC. 

Caravanserai Project has established partnerships with regional and national organizations such as UC-Riverside, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Inland Empire Community Foundation, Inland Empire Community Collaborative, Making Hope Happen, San Bernardino, Alianza Coachella Valley, The LGBTQ Center in Palm Springs and Coachella, Independent Sector, among others, to facilitate access to these specific communities of entrepreneurs.

The Caravanserai Project and its partners, AsociaciΓ³n de [email protected], Uplift San Bernardino – Make it Happen Foundation, and Get in Motion Entrepreneurs, will provide $1.5 million in direct Seed investments to local entrepreneurs, which will have a positive mid-and long-term impact on the two counties’ economies and social fabric.

Caravanserai Project – Helping Entrepreneurs Throughout the Inland Empire

The main aim of the Caravanserai Project is to help entrepreneurs grow and prosper. Below are some of its initiatives to help youth thrive:

Caravanserai Project | Part of Dream Fund Program

In February 2022, Startempire Wire reported that the Caravanserai Project had become part of the California Dream Fund Program. As it is now a part of the Dream Fund, they are excited to help young entrepreneurs start their businesses.

Caravanserai Project Calls Upon Mission-Driven Entrepreneurs

We also reported that the Caravanserai Project Social Impact Startup Pitch Competition displays mission-driven innovators from across the Inland Empire who are working to develop and implement irreversible system change solutions to several issues. It was held in May. 

Wells Fargo Tops Up Caravanserai with $1M Grant

Wells Fargo, through its program called Open for Business Fund, gave a $1M grant to a partnership between Caravanserai Project, the Inland Empire Community Collaborative (IECC), and the Inland Empire Community Foundation (IECF). The Open for Business Fund provides grants to nonprofits that support small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

California-based Caravanserai Project has a long-term goal of making the World a prime entrepreneurial spot. It greatly encourages and supports young entrepreneurs who want to do business abroad and provides them with information, projects, and other help that can be useful for their success. The project also helps people who want to set up businesses in California. This $2 Million fund is specifically for Spanish people to help them grow and achieve their goals. 

If you’re an impact or mission-driven company, then you may want to look into Caravanserai’s program for future, direction, instruction, and support. You may want to join their seed accelerator or their next cohort that’s coming out.


  • Avatar Of Sharjeel

    Sharjeel joined Startempire Wire as emerging technologies editor. Earlier, he worked at Silicon Canals, a leading English language technology media source for the Benelux and wider Europe. He covered the European technology and startup ecosystem digging into latest funding rounds of startups.


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