Center for Strategic Partnerships logo

About Us

At the Institute, we focus on moving minority entrepreneurs and businesses forward, leveraging tools and relationships across our organization. As the Institute’s consulting arm, the Center for Strategic Partnerships (CSP) identifies opportunities and develops collaborations between internal and external partners with the goal of fostering strategic alliances that provide economic prosperity for diverse populations.

Our team of consultants specializes in three competencies:

  • Public and Private Collaborations
  • Supplier Inclusion
  • Executive Management Education

Public and Private Collaborations

We serve as a trusted community hub, addressing economic disparities by:

  • Developing collaborative partnerships that maximize resources, talent, and expertise

  • Deploying community engagement strategies that target and/or deliver resources to underserved, marginalized communities

  • Incorporating growth-oriented business development models

We serve as a convener, planner and/or primary implementation partner in the areas of contracting, brand recognition and marketing, access to capital, human capital, workforce development, and technology.

Our technical assistance includes academic trainings, hands-on experiences, industry coaching and business mentoring. Our client-partners may include economic developers, corporate partners, chambers of commerce, trade associations, state agencies, local government, HBCUs, CDFIs, faith-based organizations and many more subject matter experts


Supplier Inclusion

Whether our client is a public agency or private corporation or institution, we can help develop and manage achievable yet high-impact objectives and outcomes for supplier inclusion programs. We offer a tested model for sourcing diverse businesses, coaching emerging suppliers and adopting sustainable best practices, heightening the growth experience for both new and established supplier diversity programs. 

Our goal always is to raise MWBE utilization rates and help shape a win-win ecosystem for our clients, MWBEs and whole communities. We leverage technology to build pipelines of diverse suppliers, track and analyze impact, manage client costs, and assist in scaling the supplier inclusion journey in real time.

Executive Management Education

The ideal candidates for our education programs are minority business executives focused on scale, growth, and innovative business models, often sponsored by corporate procurement departments seeking to increase their supply chain capacities. Among our standing programs is the Minority Executive Education Institute (MEEI®).

We collaborate with community stakeholders, educators, business thought leaders, researchers, industry best in class and successful MBE investors to customize executive training programs, including but not limited to the following:

Minority Executive Education Institute

The Minority Executive Education Institute (MEEI®) delivers comprehensive and robust graduate-level business education designed to help minority business executives strengthen and grow their companies.  Program features include:

  • Extensive course content based on proven best practices and research
  • Leading business experts from university and corporate partners
  • Access to new business resources through networking and strategic partnerships

MEEI® programming utilizes the talents of graduate-level professors from universities across North Carolina and leading business experts, creating a powerful learning experience that gives minority and women business owners concrete knowledge that can be used to grow revenue, enter new markets, or launch new product ideas.


The Center for Strategic Partnerships (CSP) is the Institute’s consulting arm, offering services aligned with our non-profit mission and purpose to corporate, institutional, and public sector entities. Our overarching goals for this line of business include:

  • Be a trusted consultant to clients seeking an innovative thinker, coach and implementation partner with a well-grounded diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.
  • Execute high-quality projects that promise to positively impact communities and entrepreneurs that have been historically marginalized.
  • Add value with superior, adaptable subject matter expertise, intellectual property and well-vetted partnerships.
  • Create and build long-term rather than transactional relationships.

Below is an overview of some of our partnerships.

Thrive High Point | Minority Entrepreneurship Initiative logo

High Point Equity Project (THRIVE High Point)

The High Point Equity Project was created through a partnership between the Center for Professional Services and the Business High Point Chamber of Commerce to enhance the inclusive economic ecosystem in High Point.  Currently called THRIVE High Point, our goal is to support all local minority and women-owned businesses and budding entrepreneurs in their upward trajectory towards growth and success in High Point and surrounding communities.  Our services include, but are not limited to: counseling, coaching, training sessions with subject matter experts, access to capital, leadership development, and networking opportunities. All of our services and events are free!

Thrive High Point | Minority Entrepreneurship Initiative logo
University of North Carolina Charlotte

UNC Charlotte

The Institute’s turnkey services for diverse small businesses are a unique contribution to UNC Charlotte’s PORTAL Industry-University Partnership Hub, and to building a more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem for the Charlotte region. The Institute’s Women’s Business Center (WBC) serves hundreds of aspiring or growing women-owned businesses annually, roughly 80% of whom are led by Black women, helping them overcome businesses challenges, build resiliency, and access capital they need to grow. Institute Capital (ICAP) is a US Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), offering loans for small businesses and community development organizations who face a variety of systemic barriers to traditional financing. And the Institute’s Center for Professional Services offers consulting services to the public and private sector, helping to improve policies and pathways for diverse suppliers and help organizations commit to and achieve diversity, equity and inclusion. Co-locating these services in the PORTAL Building offers the Institute new visibility through a premier workspace and innovation center for regional and global business pioneers.  It’s an unusual combination, one not found on any other university campus in NC.

University of North Carolina Charlotte

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Center for Strategic Partnerships

Mailing Address:
114 W. Parrish Street
Durham, NC 27701

Phone: (919) 956-8889