The Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship is a national resource hub 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. The PNC Foundation is providing a five-year, $16.8 million grant to Howard University to create a center for entrepreneurship education and research with the goal to serve the nation’s network of 101 historically Black colleges and universities’ (HBCU) and their communities.
The center is located on Howard University’s campus, but also includes programming at four regional HBCUs, which will coordinate programs, research and other community outreach efforts at partner HBCUs across the country. The center will utilize a regional structure with Howard University, Morgan State University, Clark Atlanta University and Texas Southern University, each leading one of four regions to allow for effective coordination of programs and activities across all HBCUs, including education programs, research strategies and business outreach. A major focus for the center and its regional HBCU partners will be to expand access to entrepreneurship opportunities by engaging students, business owners and communities of color in growing their enterprises, with a goal of increasing employment and wealth for students attending HBCU.
In addition to enhancing entrepreneurship education, the center will be a significant resource not only to the HBCU institutions, but also to the community at large in innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, and regional technological and economic development. Another goal of the center will be to help build Black small business capacity by leveraging partnerships with local chambers of commerce and other institutions to provide mentorship and networking opportunities. The center will also partner with Black businesses to improve credit, increase access to capital, provide undergraduate and graduate students hands-on experience in working with Black businesses and entrepreneurs, provide access to technologies that can increase the success of Black businesses, provide access to universities’ procurement process, and assist in applying for loans and access to capital.
All of this furthers PNC’s overall commitment to increase access to financial services and capital in LMI-communities and to Black and minority entrepreneurs and their small businesses. This grant is part of PNC’s $88 billion Community Benefits Plan announced in April 2021, inclusive of a previously announced commitment of more than $1.5 billion to support the economic empowerment of Black Americans and low- and moderate- income communities.