GREENSBORO — The Greensboro Chamber of Commerce’s Minority Business Accelerator is partnering with Launch Greensboro and the national organization Interise on a program to help minority-owned businesses accelerate their growth.
The program is designed for local minority business owners who want to get out of isolation, work on their business (not just in it) and get to the next level of growth. The inaugural cohort will begin in early 2021.
“We already have a solid networking component built into the MBA program,” said Niketa Greene, the Chamber’s vice president for leadership, diversity and inclusion. “This addition provides a proven educational component to our existing success model. With this, we can further help our companies build their capacity for growth while connecting with potential partners.”
The foundation for the new program lies in Interise’s StreetWise MBA, a nationally recognized, award-winning curriculum. StreetWise MBA uses a peer learning method to provide business owners with the knowledge, know-how and networks necessary to grow and scale. Industry experts, business peers and the program’s instructor provide insights, strategies, motivation and accountability. At the end of the program, participants walk away with a vetted business-specific strategic growth action plan outlining the steps required to achieve their goals.
“The StreetWise MBA program builds a business owner’s capacity to manage and proactively respond to crisis,” said Brent Christensen, the Chamber’s president and CEO. “As our economy reopens and local businesses seek new revenue-generating opportunities, we want to give them all the tools to not only survive but to thrive in a post-pandemic economy.”
Valued in excess of $15,000 per student, the Chamber plans to offer the program free of charge to participants through the support of community sponsors.
Partnering on the project is Launch Greensboro, the entrepreneurial arm of the Chamber that has a portfolio of highly effective accelerator programs.
Lou Anne Flanders-Stec, the Chamber’s executive vice president for entrepreneurship, said this new program will provide an additional opportunity for entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level.
“We are building a pipeline for entrepreneurs from the idea stage to a sustainable business,” she said. “This new program — which will continue that pipeline build, not just for small businesses but for large and scalable businesses — is really exciting to us.”
The Chamber’s new program doesn’t have a name just yet. Each of the more than 80 programs across the country using the StreetWise MBA curriculum has adapted it to fit the culture of their own community. What they have in common is success — with an average revenue growth rate of 36 percent for participating businesses and four times the job creation rate compared to the private sector.
“We are proud to partner with the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce to support minority small businesses as they work to grow and scale,” said Darrell Byers, CEO of Interise. “Our research shows that when small minority businesses grow, the community grows stronger and we can expect impressive results in terms of job creation and revenue growth.”