One of the goals of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce is to help support the establishment and expansion of local minority businesses, and, to that end, the chamber has opened applications for participants who want to be in the fourth group of Scale to Excel – a minority business accelerator program that “provides executive education, management know-how and business support systems for small businesses.”

 The program ­ – which will be led by instructor Channelle James – is open to those who are a CEO and/or a 51-percent owner of an ethnic minority-owned business.

James is a faculty member at the Bryan School of Business and Economics at UNC Greensboro.  She’s also the president and executive director of Community Ventures Inc. – a non-profit startup that’s focused on “creating social good in the City of Greensboro through entrepreneurship and social innovation.”

James has also published extensively on topics such as business expansion, diversity and community affairs.

This is a collaboration between a national organization known as Interise, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and Accelerate Greensboro.

Valued at $10,000, the program is available to minority business owners free of charge to Greensboro Chamber members.  For non-members, it’s $200.

Applications are due by 11:59 pm on Friday, Jan. 12 at

The curriculum is used by more than 80 programs across the US, and usually results in impressive growth for participating businesses.  It has also led to a lot of private sector job creation.

Senior Director of National Partners at Interise Bernard Johnson said this is a great opportunity for those who qualify.

“The Scale to Excel program is a proven model that has created a wealth of opportunity and access to small businesses in the Greensboro area,” he stated in a Wednesday, Dec. 20 press release announcing the new class.  “We’re thrilled to launch the recruitment for our fourth cohort in partnership with the Chamber. The impact of strategic growth planning extends far beyond individual businesses, shaping a robust local economy. Joining forces with our growing network of national partners, Interise eagerly awaits the unique contributions of these new businesses, propelling us towards a future of shared success.”

Betty Toussaint, the president and CEO of Toussaint Law said the course class can be life-changing.

“Scale to Excel will transform your mindset and your business,” she said. “After you complete this program, it will no longer be ‘business as usual.'”