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Benedict College Announces the Launch of a Statewide Accelerator Program in Partnership with Black@ Labs to Empower a Diverse Community of Entrepreneurs

Columbia, South Carolina, September 18, 2023 — Benedict College in partnership with Black@ Labs is proud to unveil its inaugural accelerator program aimed at empowering and uplifting entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds across South Carolina. The program marks a significant milestone in fostering a vibrant and inclusive ecosystem, providing aspiring entrepreneurs with the resources, support, and opportunities needed to turn their entrepreneurial dreams into thriving businesses.

As a startup launchpad, Black@ Labs is committed to identifying the next generation of builders and equipping them with essential resources, both social and financial, to ensure their success. The accelerator program represents a remarkable step forward in achieving these goals and creating a more inclusive entrepreneurial landscape.

“The collaboration with Black@ Labs brings valuable expertise to South Carolina,” noted Dr. Tracy Dunn, Dean of the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship. “We are excited to partner with Black@ Labs as our accelerator vendor. This team of professionals specializes in working with diverse early-stage startups, and its principal founder has roots in South Carolina. Bringing back a talented South Carolinian to the state to share expertise that benefits the state is especially gratifying.”

“We’re excited to announce the launch of our FIRST accelerator program in partnership with Benedict College! We’re committed to empowering and uplifting founders from diverse backgrounds right here in South Carolina. Our mission is crystal clear: to provide the resources, support, and opportunities needed to turn entrepreneurial dreams into thriving businesses,” said Shondra Washington, CEO of Black@ Labs.

In 2022, Benedict College received $525,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce to help organize, launch, and operate a state-wide investment accelerator program for underrepresented and minority persons who are in the early stages of entrepreneurship in South Carolina.  The grant was received through the EDA’s Build to Scale program, which provides annual grants that aim to accelerate technology entrepreneurship by increasing inclusive access to entrepreneurial support and startup capital.

“Benedict College is prepared to become a major contributor to the South Carolina innovation ecosystem through this statewide investment accelerator,” expressed Dr. Dunn. “We believe that our program offers unique benefits for our state, the most important being our focus on diverse entrepreneurs who typically experience greater challenges accessing capital to grow and scale their companies.”

The program’s application period is now open, accepting submissions until October 2, 2023, for the current cohort, but applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to be a part of South Carolina’s thriving and inclusive entrepreneurial landscape.  

For more information, contact Millicent Lann at 803.705.3256 or millicent.lann@benedict.edu

To attend the upcoming information sessions, register using the links below


About Benedict College (benedict.edu)
Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution offering 26 competitive baccalaureate degree programs and two master’s degree programs. The Midlands HBCU welcomes students from all 46 counties in South Carolina, 30 states across America, and 26 countries around the world. The College also has a diverse faculty deeply engaged in teaching, research, and service. 

Benedict College has been highly regarded and exceptionally ranked for its programs by several academic and traditional publications.   Benedict College received the 2019 ACE/ Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation and was named the HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest. Benedict College was listed among the top half of ranked HBCUs in the 2022 edition of Best Colleges by US News and World Report.

About Black@ Labs

Benedict College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Five of the College’s degree programs hold national accreditation: Social Work Program, Environmental Health Science Program, Environmental Engineering, Studio Art, and the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Black@ Labs is a startup launchpad committed to identifying and supporting the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs. Through its accelerator programs and partnerships, Black@ Labs empowers founders with the resources, mentorship, and funding necessary for their success. Learn more at blackatlabs.io.

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