Main Street Entrepreneurs Accelerator Program

The Main Street Entrepreneurs Accelerator (MSEA) program is a training and pitch competition for student entrepreneurs and small-business owners in Wake County, aimed at accelerating business growth. Funded by the Conlon Venture Fund and Mike Conlon, president and owner of Affordable Communities Group LLC, and a Wells Fargo grant, the program's goal is to reduce barriers and provide education so that entrepreneurs achieve greater, more sustainable success with their existing businesses.

Wake County small-business owners, entrepreneurs and student entrepreneurs can pitch for awards to help accelerate their business growth.

Program details

Individuals interested in being invited to pitch their business must meet the requirements and must register and attend the five training sessions. Those who attend all five sessions with a demonstrated understanding of their business will be invited to attend the pitch prep workshop. Once business owners have attended all five workshops and completed the homework, their pitch and business financials, they will receive an invitation to confirm their eligibility and attend the pitch workshop. Qualified businesses will then be invited to pitch.

The next program is planned for spring 2023.


This program is open to Wake Tech, Shaw University and Saint Augustine's University students, as well as Wake County small-business owners who meet the following requirements:

Student entrepreneurs: 

  • Must be enrolled in Wake Tech, Shaw University or Saint Augustine’s University
  • Must have demonstrated commitment to a business or business idea by documenting what they have done to start or build the business.

Wake County for-profit small-business owners and entrepreneurs:

  • Must have been in business (for-profit) for not more than three years or operating with revenue under $30,000 per year
  • Household income must be within three times the federal poverty level (see chart) or be a qualified Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) 
  • Must be actively working in the business (15 hours per week or more)
  • Must have a minimum personal investment of at least $1,000 in the business
Persons in Family/Household
Federal Poverty Guideline
Household Income Equal to or Less than this Column

Five-week program schedule

Individuals interested in being invited to pitch their businesses must meet the above requirements and must register and attend all five training sessions.

Pitch competition details 

Those who complete the following requirements will be eligible to receive an invitation to the pitch workshop and pitch competition:

  • Attend all five training sessions and complete all homework. Register at the links above.
  • Meet one-on-one with a Small Business Center counselor. Participants will be given instructions on how to meet with a counselor during the program.
  • Complete and submit a practice pitch video. Participants will be given instructions for video submission during the program.
  • Provide a 1099 form prior to the pitch. Eligible participants will be asked for the form if awarded funds.

Award requirements

Award recipients may use award funds for designated purposes, including the following: 

  • Attorney fees
  • Inventory or capital equipment purchases
  • Tools and software
  • Marketing
  • Physical space rent or lease
  • Supplemental human resources

Recipients must prepare two bi-monthly impact documents detailing how funds were spent and meet with an SBC counselor two months and four months after receipt of the award.

Got Questions about MSEA? Fill out a contact form.