Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab to Double Cohort Size and Increase Investment Commitment in 2021

Sep 10, 2020

  • Lab targets women and multicultural-led companies
  • Firm will double number of companies to 20 annually, split into two cohorts, which is the largest growth for the Lab since its inception in 2017
  • Applications for the 2021 cohorts are now open

New York - 

Morgan Stanley today announced it will double the amount of companies accepted annually in the Multicultural Innovation Lab, an accelerator program for technology and technology-enabled start-ups in the post‐seed to Series B funding rounds. The program, now in its fourth cohort, has invested in 31 companies and targets start-ups with a multicultural or woman founder, co‐founder, CTO or other C-suite member that is developing innovative solutions across sectors. The Lab will also be increasing its investment commitment from $200,000 to $250,000 in each early stage high growth company and will support the founders’ growth and development through its ecosystem of internal and external partners.

Previous participants have used the platform to secure additional funding rounds, refine their strategy, expand their business and some have been acquired. Applications for the 2021 cohorts are now open on a rolling basis and available here.

“We are excited to be expanding our Lab, increasing the amount of talented, diverse entrepreneurs that we will support on their journey to success,” said Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley and Head of the Multicultural Client Strategy Group. “I’ve always said that there has never been a ‘supply issue’ when it comes to investing in talented women and multicultural entrepreneurs, and I am looking forward to supporting even more founders to accelerate their growth and access to capital.”

The Lab is designed to help drive positive economic outcomes for entrepreneurs of color and women by providing content, visibility, technical support and connectivity with important stakeholders who might be essential in accelerating the growth of their businesses, as well as access to an ecosystem of best in class global partners that provide a variety of resources.

“Morgan Stanley is committed to supporting women and multicultural entrepreneurs by addressing the funding gap they still face in today’s economy,” said Alice Vilma, Co-Head of the Multicultural Innovation Lab. “As evidenced by our report, investors aren’t prioritizing strategies to diversify their portfolios, so I am pleased we are able to expand our reach to support additional founders who are not receiving adequate funding for their companies.”

The entrepreneurs receive support from a dedicated Morgan Stanley team delivering tailored experiences to help each company grow. Each cohort runs for five months, culminating in the Multicultural Innovation Lab Showcase and Demo Day that presents the companies to potential investors through showcase format presentations.

Read more about Morgan Stanley’s recent report, “Beyond the VC Funding Gap” here. Learn more about the Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab here.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit


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