The Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (MEAP) is seeking minority-led start-up businesses to receive funding, business expertise, mentors, office space, business contacts and other benefits. MEAP is a partnership of DreamIt Ventures, a pre-seed stage venture firm, and Comcast Interactive Capital, the venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corporation, a leading media, entertainment and communication company. The program is now accepting applications and will select five companies to participate in DreamIt’s three-month accelerator program in Philadelphia this fall. The deadline for MEAP applications is July 8, 2011; the program will begin on September 9.
To be eligible to participate in MEAP, a company must be at least 50 percent owned members of its “founding entrepreneur team” who are African American, Asian American, Latino American or Native American, before taking into account equity interest issued to DreamIt and Comcast in connection with participation in DreamIt Fall 2011. The founding entrepreneur team must be maintained throughout the duration of the program.
William Crowder, founder of Growth Strategy Advisors, a strategic consulting and business development firm, and a former business development specialist at AOL, is managing director of MEAP, responsible for overseeing and operating the program. DreamIt, founded in 1997, provides aspiring entrepreneurs it selects with pre-seed funding, services from leading law and accounting firms, mentoring from seasoned entrepreneurs, access to capital, and a creative, rigorous environment, all aimed at bringing innovative business ideas to market.
Crowder points to Yaw Aning, a 2009 DreamIt alum, as an example of the innovative new entrepreneurs firm seeks to fund. “Awning is the founder and CEO of Pocket Tales, an online social reading game for kids,” Crowder explains. “They have added a game layer on top of books to get kids more excited about reading, help them engage with the text on a deeper level, and let them share what they are reading with friends.”
MEAP is Comcast Interactive Capital’s first investment initiative from the $20 million fund created by Comcast as part of its merger with NBCUniversal, aimed at expanding opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. Initially announced in May, the partnership gained further attention when DreamIt Ventures Managing Director Kerry Rupp announced that applications are being accepted for MEAP at the White House Urban Enterprise Summit held in Newark at Rutgers University on Monday, June 6.