Three Chamber organizations from across South Carolina jointly announced that Bank of America has provided a $500,000 grant to launch a statewide Minority Business Accelerator program. This program will be led by the Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville Chambers and is set to launch in January of 2022.
“Minority businesses are an integral piece of our economy and our state’s ability to thrive,” said Bryan Derreberry, President and CEO, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. “Through the support of Bank of America and the partnership with the Columbia and Greenville Chambers, we are establishing a statewide program that will provide access to education, resources and opportunities to cultivate growth for high-potential minority businesses.”
The Minority Business Accelerator supports and scales high-potential minority-owned firms by providing targeted training, access to business coaches, and access to large corporations. Participants leave the program with a three-year Strategic Growth Action Plan to guide their development. The $500,000 grant from Bank of America to fund this program expansion is part of the bank’s $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to help advance racial equality and economic opportunity in local communities.
“Together with the Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville Chamber organizations, we are working to do our part to support minority-owned businesses, and we hope to encourage others as well,” said Kim Wilkerson, president, Bank of America South Carolina. “Here in South Carolina, Bank of America remains focused on creating opportunity in the areas of jobs, training, and workforce development as these areas are where systemic, long-term gaps have existed and where significant change is required to achieve sustainable progress.”
The Minority Business Accelerator has existed in the Upstate through the Greenville Chamber since 2012 and has been tremendously successful. The program will now be replicated in the Midlands and Lowcountry markets. The program in each region will be led by the respective Chamber and a program instructor following the internationally-recognized Interise StreetWise ‘MBA’ curriculum. Participants undergo intensive training for the first six months, then work closely with mentors, coaches and MBA peers on their Strategic Growth Action Plans and implementation of learnings for the last six months.
Upon leaving the program, these firms are positioned for accelerated growth with enhanced access to capital and business networks. Nationwide, after completing the StreetWise ‘MBA’ program, businesses experience 36% growth rate in revenue, create jobs four times faster than the private sector, and see $2.4 million in new contracts per firm. These businesses also help meet increasing demand among large corporations to improve vendor and supplier diversity.
“Bank of America is a longstanding supporter of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and its programs that foster a diverse, talented workforce pipeline which underpin the economic viability of our region,” said Bank of America Charleston/Hilton Head President Mark Munn. “We are amplifying that shared commitment to workforce development and minority-owned business success by applying the proven principles of the MBA initiative implemented by the Greenville Chamber and our Bank of America Upstate market teammates. We look forward to the local success of this program as we continuously seek innovative ways to strengthen our Lowcountry workforce, promote minority-owned businesses, and sustain the communities we serve.”
Expanding the program statewide will create a more prosperous South Carolina through inclusive economic development and job creation. The three chambers working together, supported by Bank of America, provide a foundation of success for South Carolina’s minority business enterprises.
The program is open to socially or economically underrepresented businesses including those that are minority-owned, woman-owned or veteran-owned. Participants must have at least one other full-time employee and must also be headquartered in South Carolina.
Recruitment for program participants will begin this fall, with the three programs set to launch in January.