Comcast Interactive To Fund Minority Businesses

Comcast Interactive Capital, the venture capital arm of the nation's largest cable operator, said Thursday that it will provide seed funding for five minority businesses through a partnership with DreamIt Ventures.

The partnership, called the Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, is Comcast Interactive Capital's first investment initiative from the $20 million fund created by the cable giant as part of its NBC Universal joint venture and committed to expanding opportunities for minority entrepreneurs.

Comcast Interactive Capital and DreamIt are now accepting applications and will select five minority-led startups to participate in DreamIt's three-month accelerator program taking place in Philadelphia this fall.  The deadline for applications is July 8 and the program will commence on 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 Payne Brown, Comcast Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Payne Brown in a statement.  "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."

Comcast and DreamIt also named William Crowder as managing director for MEAP. Crowder, founder of strategy consulting and business development Growth Strategy Advisors will oversee and operate the program.

Applicants who are accepted into MEAP will be a part of DreamIt's broader Fall 2011 initiative in Philadelphia and will be offered the opportunity

to learn from, and be mentored by, recognized experts in marketing, brand building, business development, financial modeling, business plans, distribution and customer acquisitions.  In addition, they will be provided with office space, working alongside the other startups selected and be provided with donated 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 demo day in Philadelphia to secure further funding to create a sustainable business.