Skip to main content

Greenville Business Magazine

Chamber Announces 17 Participants in Its 2019 Minority Business Accelerator

The Greenville Chamber kicked off its 2019 Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) program with 17 new and sustaining participants on January 8, 2019. MBA participants represent minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses, as well as businesses that operate in low to moderate income communities throughout Upstate South Carolina.

MBA participants are embarking on a journey over the next year that includes in-depth sessions on business and strategic assessment, balancing cash flow and bottom line, marketing and sales, and resources for growth. They will participate in CEO mentoring groups and ultimately deliver 3 Year Strategic Growth Action Plan presentations to business experts and peers.

Since its inception in 2013, the Greenville Chamber’s MBA program has seen over $22.4 million in contracts awarded and revenue increases, and has created approximately 214 jobs.

In 2018, 20 small business leaders graduated from the program and are now better equipped to contribute to our region’s economic growth. These graduates were recognized in December 2018 at the MBA Cohort Graduation and Entrepreneurship Excellence Celebration.


The Accelerate Award was presented to Dione Sandiford with Corporate Stitching for displaying an incredible amount of discipline towards building a sustainable business model, and fully utilizing the resources provided by the MBA program. 

The Leadership Award was presented to Zachary Brewster with The Bridge Builder for exemplifying leadership in and outside of the MBA program and setting an example for program peers.

The Community Impact Award was presented to Tina Stevens with Secondary Solutions and JoAnne LaBounty with Spartanburg Meat Processing for having a continuous positive impact on the Upstate community, ranging from job creation, community service and financial contributions aimed at resolving social issues.

The Advocacy Award was presented to Amy Pecoraro with PECULIAR for consistently serving as an advocate for the MBA program and its stakeholders. 

The Partnership Award was presented to Nancy Davis with Down to the Earth of the Upstate for consistently seeking and participating in strategic partnership opportunities aimed at growing her own businesses, as well as that of her peers.

The Excellence Award was presented to Jennifer Sutton with BRIGHT+Co for exemplifying excellence and consistently exceeding the expectations of the MBA program. Sutton proved to be highly coachable, a fierce program advocate and a strategic leader for her peers.



The Champion Award was presented to the MBA program’s greatest champion, Jimmy Fowler, EVP of CountyBank. Fowler has selflessly given his time, energy and resources to successfully building and sustaining the MBA program. Through his many supporting roles as Facilitator, Coach, and Advisor, Fowler has played a critical role in the success of the program.

The Coaches Award was presented to Louise Connell with BMW Manufacturing for consistently exceeding the program’s expectations of coaches. Her insights and ideas as Coach and Advisor have significantly helped to advance the MBA program. 

The Corporate Partner Award was presented to Lori Coon with Greenville Business Magazine for consistent support of the program and its stakeholders. By graciously lending resources, time, ideas and opportunities, Coon has proven to be integral to the sustainability of the MBA program.

The MBA Partner Award was presented to Sydney Cooke, Executive Director of The Brickyard. Cooke has consistently supported the program, and its stakeholders, by going above and beyond to create the level of awareness and credibility MBA has achieved, serving as an extension of the MBA team.


17 participants have been selected to participate in the 2019 class after a thorough application and interview process.



Drayton Auston                      HD Auston Moving Systems

Erica Berg                                Collective Music Solutions, LLC

Tiffney Davidson-Parker        Universal Therapeutic Services, LLC (UTS)

Raygan France                        Memoirs Events & Catering

Stacey Gardin                         Smit’N Photography, LLC

Michael Goldsmith                 G-Force Carpet Cleaning

Andre Harrison                       Heart of the Carolinas Medical Supply

Chris Hendrix                          Window Genie of Greenville

Kendra McKinney                   Little Learners Academy

Angela Pyles                           B Major Piano Studio, LLC

Patrick Ratliff                           Up and Up Coaching

Jill Rose                                   Perceptive Recruiting

Jackie Saunders                      Memoirs Events & Catering

Michelle Smith                        The Parent Pal

Shan Smith                              Good Sense Automation, LLC

Mindy Tobin                            Secondary Solutions

Vanessa Young                       CleanizerPro

Erwin Carter, President and CEO of Newbold Services, will chair the MBA Advisory Leadership Council, and Toby Stansell, CEO of Acumen IT, will serve as Instructor and Facilitator for the MBA curriculum in 2019.