Comcast Corp. announced today a partnership with the venture firm DreamIt Ventures to provide to provide seed funding, training, mentoring and other benefits to five minority-led startups.
Comcast’s venture capital affiliate, Comcast Interactive Capital, and DreamIt are now accepting applications to the new Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program. The deadline is July 8.
The Comcast-DreamIt partnership springs from a commitment by Comcast to expand opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. That commitment was part of the company’s merger with NBCUniversal, which the Federal Communications Commission approved in January.
The minority-led startups selected by the partnership will take part in a three-month accelerator program conducted by DreamIt. That program will begin Sept. 9.
“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 a statement from 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.”
Kerry Rupp, DreamIt’s managing director, said his company was thrilled to be in a partnership with Comcast. “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,” Rupp said in today’s announcement.
David Honig, president and executive director of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, an advocacy group, applauded the Comcast-DreamIt partnership.
“This is just what MBEs need — seed money, support and mentoring at the very start of their careers as entrepreneurs,” Honig said today. “Until now, no program has offered this kind of essential opportunity to minority digital entrepreneurs. Comcast’s venture capital initiative is off to a great start.”
Details on how to submit an application for the Comcast Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program are available at the DreamIt Web site at www.dreamitventures.com/about/Comcast-MEAP.php.
According to the partnership, the Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program will provide minority entrepreneurs with the opportunity to engage in an intensive, company-building experience. They will get the opportunity to learn from experts in marketing, brand-building, business development, financial modeling, business plans, distribution and customer acquisitions.
The Comcast-DreamIt partnership will provided the participating minority-led firms with office space and with 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 demonstration day in Philadelphia.
Comcast said the partnership was the company’s first investment initiative from the $20 million minority-opportunity fund.