The Novella Center for Entrepreneurship Inc. (NCE) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to expanding access to the opportunity of entrepreneurship for all. Leveraging a decade of learning from our work at the Conscious Venture Lab, NCE creates partnerships and programming that help entrepreneurs rethink the relationship between business and society and build companies that matter.
The Novella Center is named after our founder’s Mom, Joyce Novella Cherry. Joyce grew up in the 1940’s in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, and experienced firsthand the consequences of discrimination. She taught Jeff and his sisters about the importance of justice in all forms – legal, social, and particularly economic – and about how these were critical components for thriving communities. Particularly for those communities that have been historically neglected.
Today, the Novella Center honors Joyce’s legacy through economic empowerment in those communities. We expose under-estimated entrepreneurs, early-stage founders, and CEOs to Stakeholder Theory and the Tenets of Conscious Capitalism™ and show them how managing a business for all stakeholders creates both societal and financial value, helps to create generational wealth, and ultimately leads to a more just, joyous, equitable, sustainable, and prosperous society for all.
We create partnerships and programming to train entrepreneurs on how to build companies that matter! We show founders how managing business for all their stakeholders creates both societal and financial value.
We believe in and work with companies solving big problems and founded by diverse teams that others ignore for all the wrong reasons. Helping to bring more of society into the innovation economy and create generational wealth in under-served communities.
Our goal is to help those who are creating innovations that break down barriers to access. Creating a more just, joyous, equitable, prosperous, and sustainable society for all.
Based on our work with author and Entrepreneurship professor Raj Sisodia and UVA Darden’s Ed Freeman, we’ve created a
curriculum based on the tenants of Stakeholder Theory and Conscious Capitalism® a research and market proven path to
The Conscious Venture Lab is a 12-week accelerator program for early-stage, purpose-driven companies using innovation to break down barriers to access and create a more equitable society. We help diverse and under-estimated entrepreneurs integrate the tenets of Stakeholder Theory and Conscious Capitalism into the DNA of their businesses and provide a robust technology- driven process to help them take a business from idea-through-series A financing.
NCE focuses on training diverse founders operating at the intersection of profit and purpose. Those using innovation to break down barriers to access, who believe diversity is a competitive advantage, and who understand how business practiced with a stakeholder mindset can create a more prosperous and profitable society for all.
Our learning management system is powered by FounderTrac, the most robust, fully-integrated entrepreneurship training management platform in the industry.
We surround founders with world-class talent to support building a new business. NCE’s facilitators focus on topics to help prepare founders for investments.
We’ve created a curriculum based on the tenants of Stakeholder Theory and Conscious Capitalism®, a research and market proven path to better-managed companies.
"Conscious Venture Lab is creating a culture where everyone involved is invested in seeing the founders win. Conscious Venture Lab makes you raise your game as a founder because you are held account by the community to execute.
"Conscious Venture Lab helped us see the bigger picture- how to do more social good while increasing our scalability and profitability."
"Conscious Venture Lab is a place of growth for founders and social impact companies. As a reult, of the feedback we received, we made critical pivots and are far more effective in telling our story to investors and customers alike."
The Novella Center for Entrepreneurship creates opportunities for new prosperity for diverse entrepreneurs and underestimated urban communities by using entrepreneurship as a tool for economic inclusion. We are dedicated to changing the story about who gets funded and how we all work.
In 2013, our internationally acclaimed Conscious Venture Lab Accelerator program opened its doors in Howard County, Maryland as the passion and brainchild of our founder Jeff Cherry. For more than 37 years, Jeff has been a serial entrepreneur, management consultant, architect, tech executive and investor, and the program is built upon the foundation of this body of work. The program has continued to scale to meet the needs of society, address the current business climate, and support diverse entrepreneurs, and has included a move to West Baltimore, a subsequent move to Port Covington and a pivot during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Venture capitalist, serial entrepreneur. Started 7 companies with 3 successful exits. Inc. 500 CEO (1997).
Founder of first public equity fund investing in stakeholder focused companies.
JD and LLM (Taxation) from University of Baltimore. Graduate, Merrick School of Business. Entrepreneur. Extensive board, senior executive and non-profit experience.
Extensive business and community relation experience; helping individuals, teams and organizations focus their intentions on creating a positive impact within their communities, businesses and themselves.
Daily planning and program management for the 12-week accelerator program. Small business owner. Expertise in marketing, brand management, social media and program logistics.
As a nonprofit organization, NCE relies on philanthropic donations to support our entrepreneurs and sustain our operations. If you’re interested in supporting NCE through philanthropy, please contact us today.
We welcome Corporate Sponsors to support the work of our founders, companies and individuals. Corporate Partners can offer free services, content, sponsor demo days and more.