Ace Epps has been named director of inclusive entrepreneurship for Bounce Innovation Hub, effective Jan. 1.
Epps has served as an entrepreneur-in-residence and business advisor at Bounce since July 2019. A certified facilitator for the Ice House Entrepreneur Program, he brings 20 years of experience in the areas of workforce development, black male engagement and minority business support.
As director of inclusive entrepreneurship, Epps is responsible for leading the organization’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, including overseeing Bounce’s programs and services for non-technology entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses with a focus on minorities and women. This includes designing, managing and planning inclusive entrepreneurial programs, events, collaborations and partnerships that serve a diverse group of entrepreneurs and community members.
“As we continue to expand our programs to serve all entrepreneurs, we recognized pretty early on that Akron’s entrepreneurs are not all technology-based. By finding new funding and hiring Ace part-time to help us serve non-tech businesses, we opened the door to other entrepreneurs who can now find a home and help at Bounce,” said Bounce CEO Doug Weintraub. “And the response has been overwhelming. Ace’s community connections, knowledge and business expertise, not to mention his passion for empowering minority-owned businesses, makes him the ideal candidate to help Bounce meet the needs of all of Akron’s entrepreneurs.”
Epps has two primary focus areas: direct client services through Bounce’s GROW program and corporate and community outreach. GROW focuses on serving small businesses and minority entrepreneurs in the region, comprising three tracks, each designed to serve different levels of businesses. Epps also takes the lead on community outreach as a champion of historically marginalized entrepreneurs, identifying potential collaborations with organizations that help Bounce achieve its mission to serve all.
“I love the idea of coming to work, seeing someone with a business idea and helping them from when that idea is at a fetal stage and then watching it grow,” said Epps. “Just watching people go from one step to the next with their ideas and moving the needle.”
A poet, visual artist, radio show host and DJ, Epps also is an active member of the Akron business and arts and culture communities, and is heavily involved in the Akron BMe community. For info, visit www.bouncehub.org.