Thanks to some financial and mentoring support from Comcast Corp.'s venture capital arm, the fall "business accelerator" program of Philadelphia-based DreamIt Ventures Inc. will make sure five of the 15 companies chosen will be minority-led start-ups.
DreamIt will start its three-month program (its fourth in Philadelphia) Sept. 9 in space at the University City Science Center in West Philadelphia. Interested businesses need to apply online by July 8.
Comcast Interactive Capital is providing $350,000 for what it is calling the Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, which will operate like DreamIt's current model. Participating companies will receive $5,000 in cash, plus $5,000 for each team member, up to four.
Payne Brown, vice president of strategic initiatives at Comcast, had this to say about why the cable and Internet giant is participating:
"Minority groups are underrepresented in start-up ventures, and we believe supporting minority entrepreneurs through the DreamIt accelerator is an effective way to provide them with greater opportunities."
For those three months, those entrepreneurs have office space, work with mentors, and get advice from professionals on writing business plans, acquiring customers, and handling other aspects of building a business that will grow, and grow quickly.
Be aware that DreamIt takes 6 percent equity in any company that it accepts into its program. For those minority-led companies, that equity stake will be split with Comcast Interactive. Also, there is a ton of competition to get into these accelerators. DreamIt draws applicants from around the country.
The No. 1-selling book on Amazon.com is a kiddie-style picture book for adults called Go the F-k to Sleep. Author Adam Mansbach, who was inspired to write the work (whose title recurs as the refrain of harried parental lullabies) by the difficulty of lulling his own offspring to sleep, tells me the as-yet-unreleased book's sales took off after he introduced it April 23 at the Fourth Wall Arts Salon at the National Museum of American Jewish History, on Independence Mall.
Philly has never been a high-culture capital; from Quaker days we were, rather, a mass-culture center, and this is a sign that's what Philly still is, in our Saturday Evening Post/TV Guide/Comcast tradition.