The venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corp., Comcast Interactive Capital, has partnered with DreamIt Ventures to provide money and other support to five minority-led start-up businesses. These will be the first investments from a $20 million fund that Comcast established as part of the NBCUniversal transaction.
The Comcast partnership with DreamIt is being called the Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (MEAP). The program is now accepting applications and will select five minority-led startups to participate in DreamIt’s three-month accelerator program taking place in Philadelphia this fall. The deadline for applications is July 8th and the program will commence on September 9th.
“Diversity is a cornerstone of Comcast’s culture and we are proud to have Comcast Interactive Capital partner with DreamIt in this first investment from our $20 million fund focused on expanding opportunities for minority entrepreneurs,” said Payne Brown, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Comcast. “Minority groups are under-represented in startup ventures and we believe supporting minority entrepreneurs through the DreamIt accelerator is an effective way to provide them with greater opportunities.”
“We are thrilled to have Comcast Interactive Capital as a partner and are looking forward to working with them. DreamIt is proud to provide assistance and opportunities to help entrepreneurs grow, and we know that Comcast will provide invaluable expertise and partnership to this process,” said Kerry Rupp, Managing Director of DreamIt.
The partners announced that William Crowder will serve as Managing Director of MEAP. Crowder founded Growth Strategy Advisors, a strategy consulting and business development firm, and previously served in a variety of business development and strategic planning roles at AOL.
“I am truly excited about the opportunity DreamIt Ventures and Comcast Interactive Capital are providing to minority entrepreneurs. The challenge for many startups and their founders, particularly those from minority communities, is one of access and opportunity. MEAP responds to this need in superior fashion and we look forward to seeing what kind of entrepreneurial magic will be created as a result,” said Crowder.
MEAP will provide minority entrepreneurs with the opportunity to engage in an intensive, company-building experience. Applicants who are accepted into MEAP will be a part of DreamIt’s broader Fall 2011 initiative in Philadelphia and will be offered the opportunity to learn from, and be mentored by, recognized experts in marketing, brand building, business development, financial modeling, business plans, distribution and customer acquisitions. In addition, they will be provided with office space, working alongside the other startups selected and be provided with donated legal, accounting and administrative help. At the end of the three-month period, the startups will have the opportunity to pitch to venture capital and angel investors at a demo day in Philadelphia to secure further funding to create a sustainable business.
If you are a minority entrepreneur, information on how to apply for MEAP is available on the DreamIt website.
RBR-TVBR observation: Doing good can also be good business. Not only is Comcast developing goodwill and political brownie points from promoting diversity in business, but its venture capital arm might also make some money from this down the road.