Comcast Interactive Capital, the venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corp.–one of the world’s leading media, entertainment and communications companies–has partnered with DreamIt Ventures to provide seed funding, training, mentoring and other benefits to five minority-led startups through DreamIt’s accelerator program.

The partnership with DreamIt, entitled the Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (MEAP), is Comcast Interactive Capital’s first investment initiative from the $20 million fund created by Comcast as part of the NBCUniversal transaction that is committed to expanding opportunities for minority entrepreneurs.

Comcast Interactive Capital and DreamIt are now accepting applications and will select five minority-led startups to participate in DreamIt’s three-month accelerator program taking place in Philadelphia this fall. The deadline for applications is July 8, and the program begins Sept. 9.

“Diversity is a cornerstone of Comcast’s culture, and we are proud to have Comcast Interactive Capital partner with DreamIt in this first investment from our $20 million fund focused on expanding opportunities for minority entrepreneurs,” said Payne Brown, vice president of strategic initiatives at Comcast. “Minority groups are under-represented in startup ventures, and we believe supporting minority entrepreneurs through the DreamIt accelerator is an effective way to provide them with greater opportunities.”

Kerry Rupp, managing director of DreamIt, said, “We are thrilled to have Comcast Interactive Capital as a partner and are looking forward to working with them. DreamIt is proud to provide assistance and opportunities to help entrepreneurs grow, and we know that Comcast will provide invaluable expertise and partnership to this process.”

Comcast Interactive Capital and DreamIt also announced that William Crowder will serve as managing director responsible for overseeing and operating MEAP. Crowder founded Growth Strategy Advisors, a strategy consulting and business development firm, and previously served in a variety of business development and strategic planning roles at AOL.

Crowder said, “I am truly excited about the opportunity DreamIt Ventures and Comcast Interactive Capital are providing to minority entrepreneurs. The challenge for many startups and their founders, particularly those from minority communities, is one of access and opportunity.

MEAP responds to this need in superior fashion and we look forward to seeing what kind of entrepreneurial magic will be created as a result.”

MEAP will provide minority entrepreneurs with the opportunity to engage in an intensive, company-building experience. Applicants who are accepted into MEAP will be a part of DreamIt’s broader Fall 2011 initiative in Philadelphia and will be offered the opportunity to learn from and be mentored by recognized experts in marketing, brand building, business development, financial modeling, business plans, distribution and customer acquisitions.

Interested applicants can live anywhere in the country before they apply to the MEAP program, but must commit to living in Philadelphia during the program’s three-month duration. People of any age can apply, but those under 18 will need permission to participate.

The best ideas are those that can be developed into a product in three months, and each selected company/team will receive a $10,000 to $25,000 investment in their company in exchange for a 6 percent equity stake in the company that will split evenly between Comcast and DreamIt Ventures.

In addition, they will be provided with office space, working alongside the other startups selected and be provided with donated legal, accounting and administrative help. At the end of the three-month period, the startups will have the opportunity to pitch to venture capital and angel investors at a demo day in Philadelphia to secure further funding to create a sustainable business.

For details on how to submit an application for the Comcast Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, please visit the DreamIt website at