City Startup Labs
What We Do
City Startup Labs (CSL), a Charlotte, NC-based nonprofit, is bridging the entrepreneurial divide, where under-represented populations of African American millennials, as well as returning citizens (the formerly incarcerated) are not adequately participating in startup activity and business building. CSL creates this new class of entrepreneurs by providing a robust, accelerated, progressive and disciplined approach to developing entrepreneurial talent, new venture creation and deployment. Since 2014, Since 2014 CSL has been the preeminent accelerator in Charlotte for aspiring African American millennial entrepreneurs. In 2018-19 it piloted the ReEntry Entrepreneurship Program (REEP). The goal has been to not only provide business-ready skills for launching new ventures, but to also to help improve the participant's ability to become better innovators, problem-solvers and leaders within the community more broadly. City Startup Labs has also created the Restorative Pathways Project, a workplace readiness training program, in partnership with Atrium Health, to equip returning citizens with 21st century workforce skills, and begin their career with Atrium Health. In 2021, City Startup Labs acquired BlkTech Charlotte and BlkTech Interactive (BTI) to cultivate Black tech talent in the Charlotte area. Through the BTI brand, they create an ecosystem of Black-founded & led high-tech startups to increase access to capital and build sustainable business ventures.
- Through 6 cohorts, 108 started, 68 graduated, 56 pitched, 48 incubated and 19 are revenue positive.
- Over 90% of participants say that CSL helped them be better employees.
- REEP is helping returning citizens become solopreneurs with a business-in-a-box.
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