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E-commerce Learning Laboratory

E-commerce Development Program

SOKONI E-commerce Learning Laboratory helps women & minority-owned entrepreneurs reduce the time, barriers, & burdens of growing an online business.

The SOKONI E-commerce Learning Laboratory builds product-based entrepreneur's e-commerce muscle so they can operate profitable, sustainable and scalable online businesses.

We use our e-commerce marketplace +  37 Oaks University courses + 1:1 coaching  to help women & minority-owned business owners get the kinks out of their marketing, & operations before investing their own time, money and resources into scaling.


To deliver this program, we partner public & private organizations that drive economic development by investing in small business owners.

Online Shop Owner

Small Business Profile

Baker Online Store

SOKONI E-commerce Learning Laboratory is for women & minority-owned businesses that are stuck in online growth & haven't seen the progress they know they can make.

  • No e-commerce site or a stale e-commerce site.

  • Current e-commerce site but wants to grow into online marketplaces.

  • At least 12 months of business sales, digital marketing & selling experience.

  • Less than $50K of online sales.

  • Committed to significant online growth within 12 months.​

  • Packaged, shelf-stable, consumer goods that can be mass produced.

    • Food, beverage, fashion, beauty, books, art, etc

    • Food & beverages must be prepared & packaged in a licensed facility. No CBD, alcohol or tobacco. No resellers.

  • 3 month membership

  • Administrative: Item set up & maintenance

  • Collaborative marketing support 

  • Ecommerce promotion management

  • Customer service

  • Coaching

  • Order & fulfillment management *

  • Product photography *

  • 37 Oaks University Ecommerce + Strategy & Innovation Courses

    • Intro to Ecommerce

    • Intro to Ecommerce Shipping Strategies

    • Intro to Ecommerce Marketing

    • Elective Course


  • SOKONI E-commerce Marketplace (
    • Product warehousing

    • Order & fulfillment management 

    • Transaction management

    • Collaborative marketing support

    • Item set up & maintenance

    • Customer service

    • Price promotion management

    • Product Photography

* Some limitations may apply

Program Outcomes

How does our programming help "unstick" e-commerce growth?

India & Lamont Russell, Everythang Sauce
SOKONI E-commerce Holiday 2021
Program Sponsors: Accion Opportunity Fund + FedEx (via FedEx E-commerce Learning Lab) 

Lauren Curges, Shimmer N Shine
SOKONI E-commerce Holiday 2021
Program Sponsors: Accion Opportunity Fund + FedEx (via FedEx E-commerce Learning Lab) 

Taquisha Jallah, Hair Love LLC
SOKONI E-commerce Holiday 2021
Program Sponsors: Accion Opportunity Fund + FedEx (via FedEx E-commerce Learning Lab) 

  • Create a blueprint to take online business to next level.

  • Understand financial impact of business decisions.

  • Learn how & where to structure e-commerce business.

  • Get tools & resources to work smarter and not harder.

  • Design a user-friendly, customer-centric online store. 

  • Define or narrow online target customer.

  • Define brand positioning in an online marketplace.

  • Adjust online product selection to maximize sales. 

  • Adjust shipping strategy, prices, policy & packaging.

  • Learn marketing tactics to drive traffic & sales.

  • Understand impact of marketing & promotions on sales.

  • Manage inventory, production, marketing & pricing when selling in a marketplace and/or multiple online stores. 

  • Understand pros, cons & expectations of selling on different online channels.

  • Make a profit.

  • Create a design brief to inform outsourced roles.

  • Not feel overwhelmed with growing an online business.

  • Impact of planning & consistency. 

  • Impact of being intentional & thoughtful. 

  • Learn how to focus & prioritize.

  • Refine business model & strategies.

Current Programs

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Previous Programs

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FedEx + Accion Opportunity Fund

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USC Columbia Technology Incubatory + Wells Fargo
Columbia, SC

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SBDC Illinois + Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
Chicago, Illinois

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Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce
Chicago, Illinois

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Quad Communities Development Corporation
Chicago, Illinois 

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SBCD Illinois + ICNC Cohort
Chicago, Illinois

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