Overview: City Startup Labs (CSL) is establishing a center of excellence for entrepreneurial competency, innovation and leadership (CoE) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in association with Ventureprise. It operates out of the Ventureprise offices in UNC Charlotte’s PORTAL building. The center of excellence will continue with the focus initiated by CSL during its 2 year pilot — reimagining young black men as entrepreneurs.
Program: The City Startup Labs ~ Entrepreneurs Academy conducts a 15-week boot camp where young adult African American men learn how to research, plan, launch and operate their own ventures. City Startup Labs launched in early 2014 and has since graduated nearly 50 young entrepreneurs. Six months of training culminates in a formal pitch competition attended by early-stage seed investors, the local business community and the general public. Winners receive cash prizes and free desk space in a local co-working hub. Cohorts are comprised of 18-to-34-year-old black males who have launched businesses ranging from mobile platforms to mental health consulting practices.