City Startup Labs (CSL) will soon graduate its 5th class of entrepreneurs through its Center of Excellence. For the past several years, CSL has worked with African American millennials, initially with black males and most recently returning citizens (formerly incarcerated).
The event will take place at UNCC Center City, on March 29 starting at 6 p.m. Participants from the Class of 2018 will present their ventures before a jury in a series of fast-paced pitches. They will compete for $20,000 in prizes and a place in Charlotte’s entrepreneurial community.
Since launching in 2014, out of the over 80 who started (not including this class), CSL has graduated 52 entrepreneurs. Currently 15 ventures are in business and revenue-positive.
The City Startup Labs’ model includes 4 modules over the course of six months. Through this, these aspiring entrepreneurs have learned how to research, plan and launch their startup ventures.
One goal has been to develop entrepreneurial talent and acumen. However, it’s also to help improve the participants’ abilities to become better innovators, problem-solvers and leaders within the community more broadly. In fact, 75% of the former participants see the value the Center of Excellence has had on them as employees.
“Pay attention to this new crop of entrepreneurial talent. This class is our 2nd co-ed cohort and they are bright, spirited and thoughtful, and intend to make their mark in Charlotte with imaginative new enterprises,” says founder Henry Rock.