Greenville Chamber celebrates 10 years of Minority Business Accelerator

September 15, 2022

The Greenville Chamber hosted the Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) Tenth Anniversary Celebration, Presented by Bank of America, at the Peace Center’s Huguenot Loft September 8, in honor of the program’s tenth anniversary.

Since the MBA’s creation in 2012, the program has supported high-potential minority-owned firms and helped them grow and scale their businesses by providing targeted training, access to business coaches, and access to large corporations.

Throughout the evening’s tenth anniversary celebration, MBA program alumni shared the transformative impact of the program on their businesses. Local business owners and fellow program alumni, James Jordon and Ebony Sullivan, served as emcees for the evening.

“While the Minority Business Accelerator is most definitely about financial improvement, the true gems of the program were the elevating of my knowledge base, the cultivation of my skill set, and the connections I made with some of the most brilliant minds in the Upstate,” said Sullivan.

The Minority Business Accelerator was created in 2012 with a vision of helping more segments of the community grow and develop new business opportunities to better position Greenville as one of the world’s premier business communities. Over the past 10 years, more than 120 participants have graduated from the program. The MBA has created 250 new full-time jobs and generated a combined $26 million in new revenue.

“We commend the visionary leadership exhibited by the Chamber, Board leadership and business community ten years ago,” said Carlos Phillips, Greenville Chamber President and CEO. “I would especially like to thank former Chamber President, Ben Haskew, 2012 Board Chair, Mike Riordan, as well as Nika White, Senior Advisor to the Greenville Chamber’s Diversity and Economic Inclusion Initiative. The foresight they displayed then has shaped our region into one of the best places to start and grow a business.”

Headlining the anniversary celebration event was featured speaker, Jewel Burks Solomon. Jewel is an Atlanta-based entrepreneur and speaker, most well-known for co-founding Partpic, which was acquired by Amazon in 2016. Jewel shared lessons learned throughout her entrepreneurial journey and advice with attendees.

Stacy Brandon, President, Bank of America Upstate South Carolina, also joined the celebration to congratulate MBA program alumni. In 2021, a $500,000 grant from Bank of America enabled the MBA program to expand to the Midlands and Lowcountry markets, with cohorts now hosted by the Columbia and Charleston Chambers of Commerce.

“Our longstanding partnership with the Greenville Chamber leads the way in supporting minority-owned businesses and creating pathways for their sustainable success,” said Brandon. “Bank of America remains committed to helping advance economic opportunity and racial equity in local communities. Our investment to help expand the MBA program across markets in South Carolina is creating a more prosperous state through inclusive economic development and job creation.”

Recruitment is currently underway for the 2023 MBA Cohort. Participants undergo intensive training for the first six months then work closely with mentors, coaches and MBA peers on their three-year Strategic Growth Action Plans and implementation of learnings for the last six months.

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