From the lack of access to capital to the biases that exist in the realm of business, when stepping into entrepreneurship women of color are often faced with barriers. Walker’s Legacy—a company centered on leveling the playing field when it comes to business ownership—is on a mission to change the narrative by investing in the futures of HBCU students. The company recently teamed up with Howard University for the creation of a scholarship fund for aspiring women entrepreneurs.
The $25,000 fund—dubbed the Walker’s Legacy Scholarship for Enterprising Women—is a collaborative initiative being led by Walker’s Legacy and the Howard University School of Business. Over the span of five years, young women who are a part of the institution’s business program and are facing financial hardships will receive an award of $2,500, a mentorship opportunity with Howard University alumna and Walker’s Legacy creator Natalie Cofield and access to the company’s global network of multicultural women entrepreneurs. Yuvay Meyers Ferguson, Ph.D., who serves as assistant dean of impact and engagement at Howard University School of Business, believes the initiative will be instrumental in empowering the next generation of women leaders. “Championed by our very own graduate, CEO Natalie Cofield, this gift continues the legacy of empowerment that is proven to skyrocket the trajectory of Howard University’s School of Business students,” she said in a statement. “We are proud that our students will be able to further their entrepreneurial aspirations with the support of these grants as they become the business leaders of the future.”
Cofield says the sense of community that she experienced while attending Howard inspired her to pay it forward. “My time at the Howard University School of Business molded me into the woman that I am today. We look forward to supporting women from the nation’s most prestigious HBCU this school year and beyond,” she said in a statement.
Efforts like the one being led by Howard University and Walker’s Legacy are needed. According to CNBC, although Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, racial and gender disparities surrounding access to resources and funding persist.