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PNC and Howard University establish Center for Entrepreneurship at HBCUs

PNC Bank and Howard University collaborate to bring funding and empowerment to Black entrepreneurs
Howard University
Photo credit: / Joseph Hendrickson

Black-owned businesses are vital to American economy, contributing over $206 billion annually and supporting millions of jobs. Despite their significant impact, Black entrepreneurs often face systemic barriers to funding, with stark disparities in loan acceptance and interest rates compared to their white counterparts. To address these challenges, PNC Bank and Howard University have established the Howard University & PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at bridging the funding gap and empowering Black entrepreneurs.

An ecosystem for Black entrepreneurs

The collaboration extends beyond Howard’s campus, involving a regional structure with four leading HBCUs. This approach allows for effective coordination of programs and activities across all HBCUs, including educational programs, research strategies, and business outreach initiatives. The PNC Foundation has backed its commitment with a five-year, $16.8 million grant to support scholarships, loan programs, and educational initiatives designed to empower aspiring Black entrepreneurs.

Building ecosystems: Uniting HBCUs and entrepreneurs for success

In-person engagement is a fundamental element of the plan, with networking events and mentorship programs being key to entrepreneurial success. The “Black Commerce: The Future of Entrepreneurship” conference exemplifies this focus, bringing together HBCUs and a convergence of power players in the entrepreneurial sphere to foster connections and share best practices.

Black commerce: The future of Black entrepreneurship

The second annual event, June 19th-22nd, will feature face-to-face interactions among Black entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors. It kicks off with a Juneteenth Celebration and includes conference panels, workshops, and an awards gala. With live performances and esteemed panelists, the event promises to be a hub of talent, expertise, and inspiration for the Black business community.

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