Benedict College


Columbia, SC


Build to Scale Program

Venture Challenge


Project Name

Statewide Investment Accelerator


Award Amount

Federal Share

Local Match




This EDA investment will enable Benedict College to develop and operate an investment startup accelerator targeting diverse entrepreneurs in South Carolina. By leveraging partnerships with industry, academia, and capital to support early-stage businesses with a focus on marginalized workers, this accelerator will directly address both the funding scarcity and the abundance of unutilized South Carolina talent. This concierge accelerator would recruit five startups per cohort and operate two cohorts per year. During each of the two cohorts, both 12-week investment accelerators, startup founders will work to refine their value propositions and business models, connect with international mentors, customers and investors, and acquire the fundraising skills to achieve business milestones. As an anchor in the community, Benedict College is well positioned to support this growing entrepreneurial ecosystem by launching an accelerator particularly focused on entrepreneurs who are women, veterans, and/or racial minorities. The state’s economy and residents will benefit from the acceleration of high-growth startups, which will, in turn, provide sustainable, high-paying jobs and further economic prosperity.