Education

Howard University Entrepreneurship Center Seeded with $16.8 Million PNC Grant

North American Bank's Foundation Targets Black Economic Empowerment

The PNC Foundation announced last week a five-year, $16.8 million grant to create The Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship aimed at building resources and support for Black business owners across the country.

The center will support expanded opportunities for Black entrepreneurship with enhanced educational, leadership and capacity-building resources and programs nationwide.

A statement from the Pittsburgh, Pa.-based bank said the grant counts as part of its overall commitment to increase access to financial services and capital in low- to moderate-income communities and Black and minority entrepreneurs and their small businesses.

“We recognize that small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy and ensuring the success of Black-, LMI-, minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses is critical to ensuring a more diverse and inclusive economy,” said William S. Demchak, PNC chairman, president and CEO.

“PNC is bridging some of the divides that Black entrepreneurs face in the basic trade-offs of operating a small business as well as access to capital to enhance or grow their operations,” he said.

The $16.8 million grant will create a center for entrepreneurship education and research with the goal to serve the nation’s network of 101 historically Black colleges and universities [HBCUs] and their communities.

The center will be housed on Howard University’s campus. However, it will also include programming at three other HBCUs: Morgan State, Clark Atlanta and Texas Southern universities, each leading one of four regions to coordinate education and research programs and activities across all HBCUs.

Additional goals of the center include partnering with Black businesses to improve credit, increase access to capital, provide undergraduate and graduate students with hands-on experience and assist in applying for loans and access to capital.

The grant represents part of PNC’s $88 billion Community Benefits Plan announced in April. The money will provide loans and investments to low- and moderate-income individuals and communities, people and communities of color and other underserved individuals and communities over a four-year period, according to the foundation.

“Many HBCUs are already engaged in activities designed to enhance Black entrepreneurship within the university and within their immediate communities,” Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, president of Howard University, said.

“The Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship will leverage those efforts in a more focused and collaborative way to serve as a national resource hub for HBCUs to enhance entrepreneurship education and empower young Black entrepreneurs,” he said.

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s millennial publication. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, she attended Howard University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. A proud southern girl, her lineage can be traced to the Gullah people inhabiting the low-country of South Carolina. The history of the Gullah people and the Geechee Dialect can be found on the top floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In her spare time she enjoys watching either college football or the Food Channel and experimenting with make-up. When she’s not writing professionally she can be found blogging at www.sarafinasaid.com. E-mail: Swright@washingtoninformer.com Social Media Handles: Twitter: @dreamersexpress, Instagram: @Sarafinasaid, Snapchat: @Sarafinasaid

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