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Bridging Opportunities for All

Contractor’s University (CU) is an initiative by the City of Memphis Office of Business Diversity & Compliance (OBDC) that aims to create generation change within various industries, by supporting underrepresented BIPOC (black, indigenous people of color) firms and assisting their businesses maximize opportunities to partner with Memphis, and to connect and do business with one another. This initiative, funded by Living Cities, will provide promotional, financial, and advisory support to advance BIPOC firms in Memphis.

Program Overview

This program will provide firms with educational workshops, and a network for business partnerships. The program will also provide leadership development skills needed to assist BIPOC entrepreneurs launch and grow successfully as a business and a leader in business.

In creating the concept for Contractor’s University, Living Cities conducted a series of assessments to gauge the needs of the BIPOC business community in Memphis. As a result of those assessments, Contractor’s University was birthed.

Contractor’s University is a 4-week program designed to assist BIPOC entrepreneurs launch and grow successfully as a business and a leader in business. A cohort of 10 firms will be selected to participate in this pilot offering of Contractor’s University.

Cultivating Excellence

The application process for the OBDC’s Contractor’s University program is a two-step process. Upon the submission of an application, candidates will receive an email confirming its receipt and additional follow-up to denote the class (cohort) for which you are being considered. Step ONE: Application · The application is an initial assessment designed to help OBDC understand the applicant, their business, and why they are interested in Contractor’s University. This information will be kept confidential. Following submission, all candidates will be notified regarding their application status, and whether they will advance as a finalist to the interview round. Step TWO: Interview · If selected, the applicant will be required to complete the Contractor’s University interview, which includes additional questions along with submitting supporting documentation.

Program Qualifications

  • Must have been in business six (6) months or more 

  • Commit to four classes (in-person) between the hours of 9:00 am – 3:00 pm for four weeks (with additional classes scheduled in the Fall) 

  • Engage and participate in each class 

  • Attachment of capability statement 

  • Must be a resident of Memphis (proof of residency required) 

  • Business must be located in Memphis (proof of location is required) 

  • Must be a BIPOC entrepreneur

Guiding Principles

  • Tailored to the distinctive needs of entrepreneurs exploring upskill opportunities in leadership and business acumen.

  • Experiential Learning-opportunity for real-time application and impact of tools and training via growth strategy plan project.

  • Strong relational component/networking-create and support collaborations, encourage peer-to peer learning, confidentiality, and exposure to subject matter experts.


Program Objectives

Contractor's University Objectives


  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the various aspects of the academe of entrepreneurship and business stages of development.


  • Build a strong and supportive network of peers, coaches, and mentors.


  • Develop critical leadership and business acumen skills for transformation change in a small business.


  • Demonstrate leadership skills by presenting your business strategy to peers and subject matter experts



Please email your form to with the subject: Contractor's University Application

Application deadline: February 24, 2024

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