Greenville Supports Female Founders | GVL SC

Greenville Supports Female Founders

Women in South Carolina mean business. In fact, the Palmetto State is in the Top 10 in the nation in the percentage of female founders. That’s a big impact.

The National Women’s Business Council crunched the numbers. Women own about 11-million businesses in America. That’s nearly 38% of all companies in the country. In South Carolina, the percentage is higher—more than 39%. That amounts to about 166,000 businesses in the Palmetto State owned by women.

Here in Greenville, we support our female founders. Here's a look at three organizations that champion women who want to own their own businesses.

Photo of Village Launch BEA graduation courtesy of Alana Miller of SG Media, LLC.

VILLAGE LAUNCH

Village Launch helps minority and women-owned startups connected to Greenville’s westside communities. The organization focuses on businesses in their early stages through Get Started workshops, mentorship, and the Business Entrepreneur Academy (BEA).

The BEA is a 10-week, cohort-based program designed to turn your passion into a sustainable business. Mentorship is a big part of BEA. Volunteers from the community serve as mentors for each member of the class—lending their expertise, ideas, and support.

Applications for the next cohort, beginning in April are closed, but there will be another session later this year. The program costs $250, but Village Launch doesn’t want that to be a barrier. There is assistance available for founders.

COMMUNITYWORKS WOMEN’S BUSINESS CENTER

The CommunityWorks Women’s Business Center (WBC) is a big supporter of the Village Launch Business Entrepreneur Academy and founders at any stage in their entrepreneurial journey. Each BEA cohort holds a pitch competition in the final session. Women’s Business Center provides financial counseling and low-interest business loans to the two founders with the highest number of votes from their class.

Sara Carter, CommunityWorks Women's Business Center Coordinator

Any female founder at any stage can take advantage of the resources at WBC. Hop on a free discovery call for help when you’re stuck and don’t know where to turn. Learn valuable skills in WBC workshops throughout the year. Take advantage of financial education and specialized training. It’s all there to support women who dream big.

MINORITY BUSINESS ACCELERATOR

The Minority Business Accelerator grew out of the Greenville Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative in 2012. The program was so successful, it’s expanded to other parts of the state. Last year, a Bank of America grant helped create the South Carolina Minority Business Accelerator, which now runs yearly in Greenville, Charleston, and Columbia to support high-potential minority-owned businesses.

MBA graduation photo courtesy of Stacey Gardin

This year’s cohort is already deep into the structured curriculum. Founders in the program also have access to business coaches, targeted training and corporate partners. The big take-away for MBA grads is a three-year plan to grow their companies, but the connections made during the program often reap a lifetime of rewards.

Greenville is growing a collaborative ecosystem to support entrepreneurs and innovators. Taking advantage of that network and the resources already in place can help turn dreams into reality.


YOU CAN change the world from here. We’ve seen it happen.

Michelle Willis