Bank of America has granted $500,000 to South Carolina to launch a statewide Minority Business Accelerator program.
The program will support and scale minority-owned businesses by offering targeted training, connections to business coaches and access to large corporations.
The Greenville Chamber of Commerce has successfully operated its own MBA since 2012, but the Charleston, Columbia and Greenville chambers of commerce will jointly lead the statewide program, which is set to launch in January, the organizations said in a news release.
The Lowcountry and Midlands chambers will replicate Greenville’s model in their own markets.
“Minority businesses are an integral piece of our economy and our state’s ability to thrive,” said Bryan Derreberry, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, in a statement. “Through the support of Bank of America and the partnership with the Columbia and Greenville chambers, we are establishing a statewide program that will provide access to education, resources and opportunities to cultivate growth for high-potential minority businesses.”
Each program will be taught by an instructor following the Interise StreetWise MBA curriculum. Participants spend six months in rigorous training, then work closely with mentors, coaches and MBA peers to work on their Strategic Growth Action Plans.
Each participant can expect to leave the program with a three-year plan and their firms poised for accelerated growth with access to capital and business networks.
After completing the StreetWise MBA program, businesses experience a 36% growth rate in revenue, create jobs four times faster than the private sector, and see $2.4 million in new contracts per firm, according to the chambers.
Bank of America’s $500,000 grant is part of the bank’s $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to help advance racial equality and economic opportunity in local communities, the company said.
Bank of America South Carolina President Kim Wilkerson hopes the collaboration with the three chambers encourages others to step up and support minority-owned businesses.
“Here in South Carolina, Bank of America remains focused on creating opportunity in the areas of jobs, training and workforce development as these areas are where systemic, long-term gaps have existed and where significant change is required to achieve sustainable progress,” she said.
By expanding the program throughout South Carolina, the state will also increase its inclusive economic development, the chambers said.
Bank of America Charleston/Hilton Head President Mark Munn has long supported Charleston’s chamber and its programs “that foster a diverse, talented workforce pipeline which underpin the economic viability of our region,” he said in a statement.
“We are amplifying that shared commitment to workforce development and minority-owned business success by applying the proven principles of the MBA initiative implemented by the Greenville Chamber and our Bank of America Upstate market teammates,” Munn said.
The program is open to socially or economically underrepresented businesses. Participants must be headquartered in South Carolina and have at least one other full-time employee.