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Clark Atlanta University has used education as a vessel to empower generations of changemakers and the institution is furthering its efforts to increase representation in entrepreneurship through a newly fostered partnership. The Atlanta-based HBCU announced it is joining Operation HOPE’s national One Million Black Business Initiative.

Founded in 2020 by Operation HOPE—a nonprofit organization that uses financial literacy and economic education as avenues to eradicate poverty—the One Million Black Business Initiative was created to address the hurdles often faced by Black founders when stepping into business ownership. In partnership with Shopify, the nonprofit provides an array of business education-focused programs, tech resources and access to venture capital opportunities in an effort to help businesses thrive. The organization is on a mission to help create and support 1 million Black-owned businesses by 2030. As part of the initiative, Clark Atlanta University will provide resources for students, alumni and faculty to help bring their venture ideas to fruition. The school will work to support 1,000 businesses within the next nine years.

“CAU students—and alumni— are ambitious, creative and filled with innovative ideas. It is the CAU way,” CAU President George T. French Jr., Ph.D., said in a statement. “Joining this effort to create one million Black businesses while helping entrepreneurs in the CAU community aligns with our business school’s mission to produce alumni and entrepreneurs who are competitive in the business world. The 1MBB program provides opportunities for Black entrepreneurs to thrive.” John Hope Bryant, Founder and CEO of Operation HOPE, added the partnership will be instrumental in “accelerating the success of our future leaders.” CAU is the first university to join the initiative.

Several HBCUs are rolling out entrepreneurship-focused programs. News about CAU and Operation HOPE’s partnership comes nearly a month after Spelman College joined an initiative being led by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation dubbed Blackstone LaunchPad. The program was designed to create business ownership pathways for students through skills-building and mentorship opportunities.


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