Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Clemson underrepresented entrepreneurs get help from start-up accelerator


A cohort of underrepresented students and alumni from Clemson University is benefiting from a national program aimed at providing them the resources and support needed to succeed as entrepreneurs.

Through Clemson’s Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, eight students and alumni are participating in a program led by Nex Cubed, an investor and leader in early-stage start-up acceleration. Nex Cubed’s eight-week Clemson Founder’s Program provided the entrepreneurs with virtual ideation sessions, hands-on advisory support and resources to help get their start-up initiatives off the ground.

John Hannon

Clemson alum and Nex Cubed founder Bill Malloy ‘00 said his organization has the ability to provide underrepresented entrepreneurs access to large start-up technology ecosystems.

“Innovation can happen anywhere, especially where we have such an educational powerhouse like Clemson,” said Malloy, a Clemson University chemical engineering graduate. “It’s amazing to put this infrastructure in place for business and engineering students in South Carolina and provide them a bridge to Silicon Valley, New York and other start-up ecosystems.”

The Clemson program is an extension of Nex Cubed’s HBCU Founder’s Program, which recently launched to provide approximately 350 students and recent alumni from 50+ and counting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with the resources needed to launch and grow their businesses.

Clemson MBA grad Berica Robinson’s business, House of Havilah, benefited from Nex Cubed’s program.

“The Nex Cubed program offers underrepresented students the support and access to resources crucial to a start-up’s success,” said John Hannon, director of the Spiro Institute. “We are examining the program’s impact and see potential for future cohorts benefiting from the program by gaining access to technology hotbeds like Silicon Valley and beyond.”

“We have designed our programming to the core fundamentals of gaining traction for any startup enterprise and have been amazed by the amount of progress our class has made in such a short period of time,” said Mike Ma, managing director of FinTech for Nex Cubed and lead faculty member for the Clemson Founder’s Program.

In just 4 weeks, the Founder’s Program with Clemson has launched several post-revenue startups, including:

  • Haus of Havilah – A manufacturer of sustainable luxury home goods
  • Gridscape – A producer of custom home art displays
  • Vetted – A fashion line producing bespoke, tapestry-inspired clothing

“This program has truly been a life-changing opportunity,” said Berica Robinson, Clemson MBA graduate and founder of Haus of Havilah. “The program has provided technical skills, invaluable guidance, and the support network that helped me take Haus of Havilah from just an idea to a live business.”

The participants with the most promising business concepts will be eligible to participate in the 2021 Nex Cubed HBCU Founder’s Summer Acceleration Program in Silicon Valley, with each participant receiving $10,000 to cover the cost of participating in the program.

Meet all of the Clemson Founder’s Program participants here.


John Hannon, director, Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Clemson University.

 Email: jmhanno@clemson.edu

Gallium Ventures

Email: nex3@galliumventures.com

About Clemson University

One of the most productive public research universities in the nation, Clemson University attracts and powerfully unites students and faculty whose greatest desire is to make a difference in the lives of others. Ranked among the best national public universities by U.S. News & World Report, Clemson is dedicated to teaching, research and service. Our main campus, located in Upstate South Carolina, sits on 1,400 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, along the shores of Lake Hartwell. We have a presence in every South Carolina county through research facilities, economic development hubs and innovation campuses. Through the research, outreach and entrepreneurial projects led by our faculty and students, Clemson University is driving economic development and improving quality of life in South Carolina and beyond. For more information, go to clemson.edu or visit us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

About Nex Cubed

Nex Cubed is an investor and innovation partner that empowers startups, investors, corporations, academia, and governments to bring new technologies to market, help rising companies scale, and provide paths to liquidity – the power of three.

Over the last three years, Nex Cubed has established itself as a leader in early-stage innovation and acceleration, creating a global ecosystem of 3 industry-specific COEs, 75 investments, 45 partners, 50 strategic advisors, 50 investor advisors, and over 140 mentors. To date, the Nex Cubed portfolio companies have an aggregate value of half a billion and over 50% of the startups are led by female and minority founders. https://nex3.com/


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