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Benedict College launches statewide entrepreneurship accelerator program

Jason Thomas //September 19, 2023//

Benedict College launches statewide entrepreneurship accelerator program

Jason Thomas //September 19, 2023//

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Benedict College, in partnership with Black@ Labs, has unveiled 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, according to a news release.

“The collaboration with Black@ Labs brings valuable expertise to South Carolina,” said  Tracy Dunn, dean of the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship, in the release. “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.”

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 release stated. The accelerator program represents a remarkable step forward in achieving these goals and creating a more inclusive entrepreneurial landscape.

“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 the release.

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, according to the release. 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,” Dunn said. “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 Oct. 2, 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

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