The Greenville Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator Program helps accelerate the development of high potential minority business enterprises (MBEs) to strengthen and expand the regional minority entrepreneurial community. Occasionally, we spotlight the participating companies and their success stories or other MBA news of interest.
Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) is a program of the Greenville Chamber which actively seeks to improve the capacity of minority owned firms by increasing recognition of the value of minority businesses as suppliers, strategic partners, and, ultimately, as effective engines for job growth, economic development and wealth creation. MBA prepares high potential minority-owned businesses for accelerated growth and expansion through business development services, mentoring, targeted training, access to large corporations for partnership opportunities and custom roadmap to sustainable growth. MBA helps MBEs overcome growth barriers creates access to new opportunities for ethnic diverse businesses, connecting them with the right resources and results-driven strategies to fuel their growth and build capacity.
- 1 of 6 Chambers in the country to offer a Minority Business Accelerator program
- Approximately $15.5 MIL in contracts awarded since inception
- Approximately 203 jobs created since inception
A Celebration of US!
In 2011, A Celebration of Us!, a retail business, was created by Dionne Sandiford. A Celebration of Us! creates customized, embroidered keepsakes, including t-shirt quilts and memory quilts, custom gifts, and provides embroidery services on any size commercial order. In greater detail her business customizes embroidery for corporate branding and designing, and manufactures t-shirt quilts, memory gifts, and sewn custom keepsakes for special occasions. The company also serves as a sewing house to produce items for corporations.
A Celebration of Us! is distinguished by their unique capability with quick-turn orders and the ability to handle small-to-medium-sized orders that fall below the minimum order size of their larger competitors. Dionne is a strong advocate of professionalism, attention to detail, and commitment to working effectively and efficiently. Her customers surely see that in her products. Her personal core values have a positive correlation to how she operates her business and how she assembles her products. Dionne said, “My core values are operating with integrity and presenting high quality workmanship with every product, every time.”
Dionne’s business was a hobby that grew once she made the decision to leave her job. It also served as an outlet for her talent and creativity in the sewn arts. Dionne started her business from the desire to create a sustainable financial platform from the skills, knowledge and ability that she already developed from working in corporate sector. When asked where Dionne sees A Celebration of Us! in five years she declared, “I plan to hire people who find it difficult to find employment. Some of those individuals could be former incarcerated individuals. Also I would look into hiring women that are domestic violence survivors.”
What Dionne is most excited about concerning the MBA program is the opportunity to learn how to market and position her company for greater opportunities in the marketplace. “I want to gain a higher level of comfort with my financial projections and my company's ability to serve additional commercial clients. I want to learn how to network better and to present myself better to others.”
Dionne’s advice to other entrepreneurs is to not give up, no matter how hard it gets. She also highly recommends that business owners do their research on the viability of the product/service and who makes up the target audience. She shared, “When you are passionate about a solid product, you can and will make the right connections to create a niche of your own. Also, know what you do well and find others to do the other things. “ Lastly, Dionne also expresses the importance of being careful with whom you share your dreams because not everyone will appreciate the journey you may be on.