Innovation has been the backbone of our country since its inception. It spurs job growth, creates wealth for generations of families, and helps to ensure the U.S. remains a global economic leader. A passion for helping companies grow and succeed has been in me for a long time. That type of growth and success impacts large numbers of people in tremendous ways.

The potential of that level of impact is what drew me to the new program created by DreamIt Ventures and Comcast Ventures. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Managing Director of the recently announced Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (MEAP). The program seeks to provide seed funding, training, mentoring and other benefits to five minority-led startups. We are currently accepting applications from startups in digital media, Internet and communications - usually with a technology angle - and are looking for as many high-quality applications as possible.

Research shows that minorities are underrepresented in venture capital-backed startups. The reasons include limited or no access to high quality coaching and mentoring and an inability to secure sufficient capital. The MEAP program is helping to address these and other issues by providing funding and critical resources to minority entrepreneurs.

Accepted applicants will be integrated into the Fall 2011 DreamIt program taking place in Philadelphia and will receive community office space, coaching by DreamIt leadership team members with a 1:1 dedicated experienced entrepreneur, legal and accounting services from leading local firms, presentation skills training and training in other specialty areas (such as marketing, technical, business development, etc.), as well as on-site administrative support. Comcast Ventures and DreamIt will also host special events and guest speakers, and design a curriculum for the minority startups that will include mentors from Comcast and others from the minority business community. At the end of the three-month period, the startups will have the opportunity to pitch their company to venture capital and angel investors at Demo Day with the prospects of securing additional funding to further develop their company.

The deadline for applications is July 8th and the program will commence on September 9th.

This is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur, especially one with a passion for the digital space. I can't wait to see what kind of entrepreneurial magic will be created as a result of MEAP, the quality of innovation that will be fostered, and the types of businesses that will emerge at the conclusion of the program. To learn more and apply, please click here.