The Minority Business Development Agency Selects CIC for its Capital Readiness Program to Support Underserved Entrepreneurs in Massachusetts

Vice President Harris at podium announcing awardees.
  • As one of only 43 nationwide awardees of the $125 million technical assistance program, CIC will launch a Social Impact Program in Massachusetts 
  • The Capital Readiness Program represents the Commerce Department’s largest investment in support of underserved entrepreneurs

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Vice President Kamala Harris recently announced that CIC was selected for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Capital Readiness Program, the U.S. Commerce Department’s largest investment in support of underserved entrepreneurs. Of the 43 awardees, CIC was the only Massachusetts entity selected by the Department of Commerce for this program. CIC, which builds and operates a global network of innovation campuses where startups, scale-ups and enterprises work, connect and grow, was honored during a ceremony at the White House on August 4, 2023.

The Capital Readiness Program is a $125 million technical assistance program to help underserved entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses.The awardees will launch and operate business incubators or accelerators designed to prepare underserved entrepreneurs to secure capital from the historic $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and other capital sources. The Capital Readiness Program is the largest-ever direct Federal investment in small business incubators and accelerators of its kind. Administered by the MBDA, which was made permanent and expanded thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Capital Readiness Program is also the largest initiative in the over 50-year history of the MBDA.

CIC’s Social Impact Program supports entrepreneurs from historically underserved communities in select CIC campus locations by providing coworking membership, access to programming and benefits to assist in startup growth, mentoring and networking opportunities through its ecosystem. This grant will allow CIC to launch the program in Massachusetts in 2024 that is designed for early and growth stage Black, Indigenous, People of Color, veterans and female-identifying entrepreneurs and emerging businesses spanning multiple communities in the state. Participants of the program will glean curated, foundational knowledge they will need to build their businesses, customized to their stage of growth. They will also gain real-world experience pitching to investors, entrepreneurs, and other experts in the Boston ecosystem. Additional details of the program will be unveiled later this year.

“This grant will enable CIC to expand our longstanding Social Impact Programs and create exciting new pathways to entrepreneurship for diverse leaders here in Massachusetts,” said Stas Gayshan, general counsel at CIC. “Historically, underrepresented founders and entrepreneurs still lack full access to appropriate networking, growth capital, and markets. The CIC Social Impact Program’s efforts are directed to remediate those historical and systemic barriers by providing these entrepreneurs with value-driven business networks and early-stage capital solutions.”

CIC has led Social Impact Cohorts since 2017 across its U.S. innovation campuses, offering programming that encourages collaboration, learning opportunities, and interaction. As one example, CIC Philadelphia’s 2023 cohort is composed of 13 members spanning tech nonprofits, life science startups, VC firms and more. As another, CIC St. Louis has managed one Social Impact Cohort per year since 2021, and its members are primarily community-focused non-profits with wide ranging focuses from healthcare and LGBTQ+ support to black mentorship and restorative justice.

The 43 organizations selected for the Capital Readiness Program are a mix of non-profit and community-based organizations, private sector entities, and institutions of higher education located across the country. They are all forming partnerships to assist and train underserved entrepreneurs seeking resources, tools, and support to start or scale their businesses in high-growth, high-wage industries such as healthcare, climate resilient technology, asset management, infrastructure, and more.

This grant was bestowed to CIC in part due to Massachusetts’ high research and development spending per capita, a booming biotech sector, a high concentration of computer and information science experts, and a well-funded higher education system. To learn more about the program you can connect with the team here

About CIC

CIC builds and operates a global network of innovation campuses where startups, scale-ups, corporations and public entities connect, work, and grow. Founded in 1999, CIC manages more than 1.2 million square feet of innovation-focused workspace, laboratories, and event space across North America, Europe and Asia. Additionally, CIC develops bespoke programming, builds and enables industry clusters, and provides world-class district consulting—all focused on advancing innovation.

Learn more about CIC’s innovation campuses featuring workspace & labs, programming, and events at Follow along on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

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