Minority Business Accelerator announces 2023 cohort

December 12, 2022


The Greenville Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator Upstate program recently graduated 2022 program participants and announced the 2023 class line-up.

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 undergo intensive training for the first six months following the internationally-recognized Interise StreetWise ‘MBA’ curriculum led by instructor Wendell Jones. During the final six months, participants work closely with financial experts, coaches and MBA peers on their three-year Strategic Growth Action Plans and implementation of learnings.

Graduating from the 2022 program were 10 local, small business owners:

Lorenzo Bates, 360clean
Laura Biggerstaff, Iron Elk, LLC
Jesse Canty, Smokin Wings & Things
Ghisela Linette Eljach, InSouth Magazine, LLC
Tywana Groce, Precision Dental
Kimbrelly Kegler, Kegler United, LLC
Ebony DeVonne Sullivan, Suagapiehoneybun, LLC
Bethany Winston, Kidding Around Media

At the graduation ceremony held on Thursday, December 8th, Tywana Groce and Bethany Winston received the MBA Excellence Award for their outstanding dedication and growth throughout the program. Two awards were presented to community leaders and longtime supporters recognizing their contribution to growing the MBA program: Lori Coon, COO/Publisher at Integrated Media Publishing, received the MBA Champion Award and Kathy McAfee, President of Kmc Brand Innovation, LLC, was presented with the MBA Partner Award.

The 2023 class will kick-off their program in January:

Elizabeth Bradley, Dance Without Limits
Timothy Cunningham, Wine & Design
Porscha Davis, The Salon by Porscha Danielle
Bernardo Dendy, MB&B Lawn Works
Spunette Hawkins, Innovation Counseling
Cherella Lee, Smallcakes Spartanburg
Celeste Purdie, Foot Solutions Greenville
Joanna Reese, Tangible Strategies
Paula Trujillo, El Carriel
Cortella Wilkes, Legacy Healthcare Advantage

To qualify for the year-long program, businesses must be based in the Upstate, socially or economically disadvantaged (minority, veteran or woman-owned, as well as those serving lower-income communities), and a member of the Greenville Chamber.

Also graduating last week were the inaugural cohorts from the Midlands and Lowcountry-based programs. In September 2021 it was announced that a $500,000 grant from Bank of America would expand access to the program across the state. The new statewide initiative launched in January of 2021 and just graduated 34 individuals.


Since its inception, the Upstate Minority Business Accelerator has graduated more than 120 participants, created 250 new full-time jobs, and participants have seen a combined $26 million in new revenue.

Learn more at www.greenvillechamber.org/mba.