More than 15 Upstate minority-owned businesses have completed the Greenville Chamber’s 2017 Minority Business Accelerator (MBA).
The Minority Business Accelerator was created in 2013 by the Greenville Chamber to advance economic inclusion by equipping high-potential minority-owned, women-owned or veteran-owned businesses or businesses located in low to moderate income communities with the tools necessary for development, growth and expansion. Throughout the year-long program, participants take part in class sessions, peer-to-peer mentoring groups and self-analysis case studies. At the end of the program, participants have a strategically-sound growth plan and the knowledge to execute it. The internationally-recognized StreetWise MBA™ curriculum was facilitated by Toby Stansell, Managing Director of Technology Solutions at Cherry Bekaert, LLP.
The 2017 graduates were recognized and awards were presented at the Minority Business Accelerator 2017 Cohort Graduation and Entrepreneurship Excellence Celebration on December 11, 2017.
2017 MBA PARTICIPANTS
Anita Garrett, The Weathers Group
Brenda Ligon, Precept Staffing Inc.
Delores Watkins, Cornerstone Salon and Spa, Advocacy Award
James Bennett, Upstate Home Health Care, Excellence Award
James Richard, AAA Care
James White, James White Enterprise, Partnership Award
Jeanette Houchens, HIT Services
Jeff Alfonso, Alfonso Interpreting
Kenzie Biggins, Worxbee, Accelerate Award
Lindsey Holder, Organic Tan
Robert Chandler, IG Global
Sergio Burnside, All Star Meats Co., Community Impact Award
Simon McClain, M&T Technologies
Tammy Johnson, High Spirits Hospitality, Leadership Award
Tracy Ware, Primary Choice
William Wilson, SC Solar Energy, Innovation Award
"As the year progressed, I became especially impressed by the tenacity and dedication demonstrated by these business owners," said Toby Stansell, Managing Director of Technology Solutions at Cherry Bekaert, LLP and MBA curriculum facilitator. "Each of these companies improved operationally and financially, which in turn not only benefits their company, but also positively impacts the financial state of their employees, their community, and ultimately helps drive economic growth for our entire region."
2018 MBA PARTICIPANTS
The Greenville Chamber has accepted 20 new participants for the 2018 program.
Amy Pecoraro, PECULIAR, LLC
Antron Buckhanan, RAATA Consulting
Charlita Atchison, Atchison Transportation Services, Inc.
Diana Stevenson, Grace Outdoor Advertising
Dionne Sandiford, A Celebration of Us!
Frank Henderson, Antioch Group, LLC
Hardy Auston, HD Auston Moving Systems
Jennifer Sutton, BRIGHT+CO
JoAnne LaBounty, Spartanburg Meat Processing Company
LaChandra Brown-Reynolds, Logan Chris Salon
Latal Zimmerman, VBW Hauling, LLC
Latoya Dixon, The Queen Photographers
Laura Corbin, Spencer Pest Services
Marina Ponton-Arena, Greenville Natural Health, Inc.
Martha Evans, Southside Urban Revitalization and Economic Development Corporation
Nancy Davis, Down to Earth of the Upstate, Inc.
Nichelle Harris, The MAP Agency
Srikanth Kodeboyina, Blue Eyes Soft Corp.
Tina Stevens, Secondary Solutions
Tracie Blue, Health Systems of SC
Zachary Brewster, The Bridge Builder
In 2018, the Greenville Chamber has developed new partnerships to ensure that the Minority Business Accelerator continues to be a cutting-edge program utilizing the latest technology to deliver exceptional service to participants. The Greenville Chamber and The Brickyard are partnering to create a dashboard for MBA participants providing a gateway for accessing business tools, resources and one-on-one connection opportunities with subject matter experts of relevant business disciplines. The Brickyard will also provide a dedicated meeting space for MBA, alternative workspace for participants and other professional services. This partnership was made possible by a generous investment by Wells Fargo Bank to Accelerate, Greenville’s private sector-fueled economic development initiative. The Minority Business Accelerator is one program funded by Accelerate.
"Wells Fargo is proud to be a cornerstone investor in the Minority Business Accelerator and Accelerate," says Brian Rogers, Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo Bank. "Wells Fargo is passionate about supporting all local, small businesses, and we are especially thrilled to help fund this program that serves as a launching pad for minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses."
Greenville Chamber President/CEO Carlos Phillips says, "We thank the many community partners who give of their time and resources to support this vital program." He adds, "We commend the 2017 graduates for their hard work this year and look forward to working with our new class."
About the Greenville Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator Program The Greenville Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator Program (MBA) actively seeks to improve the capacity of minority-owned firms by increasing recognition of the value of minority businesses as suppliers, strategic partners and, ultimately, as effective engines for job growth, economic development and wealth creation. The program prepares high-potential, minority-owned businesses for accelerated growth and expansion through business development services, mentoring, targeted training, access to large corporations for partnership opportunities and custom roadmap to sustainable growth. MBA helps business owners overcome growth barriers and creates access to new opportunities for diverse businesses, connecting them with the right resources and results-driven strategies to fuel their growth and build capacity.
Since its inception in 2013, the Greenville Chamber’s MBA has served approximately 50 firms, seen over $15.5 million in contracts awarded, and has created approximately 157 jobs.