DIGSOUTH and Charleston Promise Announce Partnership

Written by Tami Barlow

On March 9, 2019

DIG SOUTH Tech Summit Partners
with Charleston Promise Neighborhood

Program funded by a grant from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism seeks to change the face of business startups


Charleston, SC – February 25 – DIG SOUTH Tech Summit announced today a partnership with Charleston Promise Neighborhood aimed at increasing the number of minority entrepreneurs and broadening the diversity of business startups. Additionally, the program shines a light on tourism opportunities in the region.

According to a recent article in Crunchbase news, minority founders are still being largely overlooked. “In fact, most venture-backed startups are ‘still overwhelmingly white, male, Ivy League-educated and based in Silicon Valley,’ according to a recent study conducted jointly by RateMyInvestor and DiversityVC.

Other key findings of the report which examined publicly available VC-backed deals over the last five years and polled over 10,000 founders:

  • 77.1 percent of founders were white—regardless of gender and education.
  • Just one percent of venture-backed founders were black.
    Women-funded startups received only 9 percent of investments.
  • Latino founders made up 1.8 percent of those receiving funding, while Middle Easterners totaled 2.8 percent.
  • Asians were the second most-backed group, making up 17.7 percent of venture-backed founders.

DIG SOUTH Founder Stanfield Gray has set out to change that. “For the last 7 years, the DIG SOUTH Tech Summit has connected leading global brands to scalable startups and entrepreneurs based in the region with the goal of providing the content, contacts and capital opportunities they need to succeed.” He continued, “This partnership leverages the best that we have to offer in a way that demystifies and inspires all sectors of our society to pursue their dreams.”

A portion of a grant funding the partnership will also be used to launch the inaugural DIG SOUTH Founder’s Fellowship. The Fellowship is awarded to startup founders and entrepreneurs growing tech and predominantly tech enabled companies. More than 200 founders will be selected from prominent accelerator and incubator programs based in the American South. The award includes a $500 general-access badge to DIG SOUTH plus the opportunity to gather onsite, network and share best practices.

South Carolina Senator Marlon Kimpson has been a passionate supporter of expanding opportunities for entrepreneurs. “DIG SOUTH is bringing significant business opportunities for entrepreneurs and startup founders to South Carolina District 42,” said Senator Kimpson. “This grant helps to ensure that a broad array of constituents gain access and
exposure to the digital economy jobs of the 21st-century.”

DIG SOUTH and Charleston Promise Neighborhood hope to provide budding entrepreneurs high-level experiences at an early age and expand their exposure to business environments where significant deals are made.

“Charleston Promise Neighborhood is thrilled to be the non-profit partner of the 2019 DIG SOUTH Tech Summit,” said Sherrie Snipes-Williams, CEO of Charleston Promise Neighborhood. “This collaboration will deliver opportunities for our students to engage with entrepreneurs and tech experts, experiences of which they would otherwise not have. And, to aid CPN in achieving transformation in a generation, it’s about bringing new partners to our mission through their contributions of time, talents, and treasures.”

“This is an example of business, non-profit and state government creatively partnering to provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs, improve schools and attract new startups to Charleston,” said DIG SOUTH founder Stanfield Gray. “Our goal is to find out what works and do more of that to help the most people in District 42.”



DIG SOUTH Tech Summit, held April 24-26 at Charleston Gaillard Center, connects leading global brands like Oracle, IBM and Salesforce to the top tech leaders, entrepreneurs and investors in the South. More than 2200 attendees gather in gorgeous Charleston to make deals, share the latest digital trends and build relationships. Curated tracks include emerging technology, business growth, digital marketing, and blockchain-fintech. The 2019 theme is “What’s Your Story?” Greg McKeown, New York Times best-selling author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, will headline DIG SOUTH Tech Summit.


Charleston Promise Neighborhood (CPN) believes the achievement and opportunity gaps beween children from high needs families and all other children must close now. In turn, CPN provides supports to students that help drive academic achievement, including afterschool academic and extracurricular enrichment, school day supports, school-based health clinics, and initiatives that engage parents, our community, and our Neighborhood schools in our students’ successes. The mission is to ensure that residents in Charleston’s Neck Area are engaged in their community and every child is on track to graduate high school with the abilities necessary to succeed in college, the military and the workforce.

To access the speaker lineup, agenda and other details, visit: digsouthtechsummit.com