New Startup Accelerator Addresses Needs of Minority and Women Entrepreneurs Who Have Limited Access

Limited access to private equity and debt financing remain persistent factors which inhibit both the creation and growth of businesses within minority communities and among women.

Addressing their needs is the Minority Venture Partners (MVP) Accelerator Inc., a not-for-profit startup program for commercializing digital, social, and mobile innovations developed by minority and women entrepreneurs. MVP was co-founded and launched by Vanguarde Consulting Group, a Venture-in-Residence firm at the New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. MVP is one of five regional winners of the 2015-2016 U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.

[Related: Angels and Unicorns: Black Women-Owned Businesses Grow But Raise Very Little Seed Money]

Partnering with the New York Institute of Technology’s School of Management, the MVP Accelerator provides a collaborative environment where individuals can be mentored by faculty, seasoned entrepreneurs, and professionals; all while accessing a place to build infrastructure and acquire talent. MVP provides comprehensive support in the form of knowledge, networks, and capital to not only bring technology products developed by minority and women to market but, likewise, facilitate profitable exits whenever possible.

“In the current environment, trends in digital, social, and mobile technologies make MVP’s accelerator focus extremely meaningful,” notes D. Bernard Webster, managing partner at MVP and Vanguarde. “MVP’s first class includes four companies currently pioneering technologies that uniquely support the advertising industry. Each firm has introduced minimum viable product to market; and combined have total revenues of more than a $1 million.”

MVP participants are offered the added benefits of business and technical insights from the innovation and media teams at Uniworld Group, which ranks No. 8 on the B.E. Advertising Agencies list. A longstanding multicultural ad firm, UWG assists clients such as Ford, Colgate-Pamolive, the U.S. Marines, Amtrak, and Home Depot to reach emerging audiences. UWG provides guidance to MVP founders looking to create successful vendor relationships within the advertising industry, while evaluating each firm for potential contracting opportunities and integration of their technologies into current brand campaigns. MVP supports its portfolio firms by both securing institutional funding and facilitating business development opportunities which drive revenue and growth.

“MVP Accelerator is committed to generating funding to invest growth capital into more than 90 companies over the next four years,” according to Webster. Upon completion of the accelerator program, companies will also be able to leverage the broad partner network of the NY Private Equity Forums, which boasts over 3,000 successful entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and corporate partners. Through the NYPEF, MVP has developed a reliable pipeline to a pool of investors prioritizing the launch, scale, and exit of promising minority ventures.

Those companies interested in the MVP Accelerator program can submit their application at The program’s 2nd class will commence March 2016 and conclude in December 2016 when each team will have the opportunity to present to investors, industry leaders, and the community at large.