Spelman and Morehouse College are advancing their efforts to empower scholars to step into the entrepreneurship space. The HBCUs recently received a $5 million grant from Mastercard to support the creation of a Center for Black Entrepreneurship.
The project is a collaborative initiative being led by the Black Economic Alliance Foundation—a collective of business leaders and allies whose mission is rooted in furthering Black economic progress through advocacy and civic engagement—and the historically Black colleges. The center, which will be located on both Spelman and Morehouse’s campuses, will provide resources and opportunities for Black founders; including the creation of an online entrepreneurship-focused program and an array of courses designed to equip scholars with the skills needed to cultivate a solid foundation for their ventures.
The endowment from the financial services corporation is part of a larger initiative being led by the company dubbed the Mastercard Impact Fund. Mastercard has made a five-year, $500 million commitment to support projects centered on eradicating racial inequity, making financial literacy resources accessible and eliminating the barriers Black founders face when seeking capital for their businesses.
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.—who serves as president of Spelman College—says the entrepreneurship program will be instrumental in working towards eliminating the racial wealth gap. “We are excited by the possibility of building an entrepreneurship curriculum within our outstanding department of economics,” she said in a statement. “Through the support of Mastercard, the College will be able to build curricular and co-curricular strength that encourages and supports AUC students’ intent on the creation and sustainability of new businesses that will ultimately create wealth within our communities.”
News about Mastercard’s gift comes months after the company teamed up with the Fearless Fund—a venture capital firm founded by HBCU alumna Arian Simone and Keshia Knight Pulliam—to provide grants for women of color entrepreneurs.