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Bank of America Supports Creation of New Center for Black Entrepreneurship at Spelman College and Morehouse College Share a Spelman College Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Matthew Daily
Bank of America
404-607-2844
matthew.daily@bofa.com

Stephanie Baez
Black Economic Alliance
917-518-0067
sbaez@globalstrategygroup.com

Jazmyn Burton
Spelman College
404-7985212
jburton8@spelman.edu

Bank of America Gift supports Center for Black EntrepreneurshipATLANTA (February 22, 2021) – The Black Economic Alliance Foundation, Spelman College, Morehouse College and Bank of America recently announced the collaborative development of the Center for Black Entrepreneurship, the first-ever academic center designed to empower a new class of Black entrepreneurial talent.

Powered by a two-year, $10 million grant from Bank of America, and located on the campuses of Spelman and Morehouse, the CBE will guide students through an entrepreneurship curriculum that will serve as the foundation for the creation of new businesses, and bridge the gap between students with competitive ideas and venture capital firms.

“Bank of America’s gift to Spelman and Morehouse enables our institutions to create a dynamic academic experience for aspiring Black entrepreneurs. Our students will learn to build strong businesses and create wealth for their families and their communities, all while obtaining a first-rate liberal arts education,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “We plan to hire top tier faculty, support our students financially, continue to grow co-curricular programs that offer real world experience, and offer courses online for those adults who are already in the workplace. We appreciate Bank of America for its investment in institutions that affirm the identity, history and culture of the next generation of Black entrepreneurs.”


Spelman plans to house the CBE’s curriculum in the Department of Economics. Co-curricular activities, like Spelpreneur, will live in the College’s dynamic Innovation Lab, where many of Spelman’s entrepreneurs already gather. The CBE will be a feature of the Innovation Lab, which will reside in the Center for Innovation & the Arts, a new state-of-the-art learning environment, slated to open in 2023.

By building on an existing culture of strong entrepreneurship programs at both Morehouse and Spelman, and with support from Spelman’s Department of Economics, the CBE will help expand the ecosystem and grow the pipeline of Black innovation.

In addition, the CBE will allow current student-run initiatives, like Spelman’s Entrepreneurship Club and the Black Venture Capital Consortium, as well as popular programs like Spelpreneur, to create a stronger network of young leaders.

“As an alumna of Spelman College, I know firsthand the lasting and meaningful impact the institution can make on its students and surrounding community,” said Cynthia Bowman, chief diversity and inclusion and talent acquisition officer for Bank of America. “This collective partnership will work to eliminate existing barriers by providing unique opportunities to Black entrepreneurs, ultimately fueling Black innovation and economic mobility within the next generation.”

The CBE seeks to eliminate the access barriers among Black entrepreneurs, professional investors, and business builders by leveraging education, mentorship, access to capital and opportunity.

In addition to a traditional academic curriculum, the CBE will include online courses to make parts of the curriculum accessible to a global audience and offer upskilling training to an adult audience.

“The Center for Black Entrepreneurship will help close the opportunity gaps among industry, the investment community and Black entrepreneurs. The CBE will harness the multiplier effect of education, exposure, mentorship, access to capital and opportunity,” said David Clunie, executive director of the Black Economic Alliance. “The Black Economic Alliance is proud to partner with Spelman and Morehouse to bring this unique initiative to fruition, and we appreciate the anchor funding from Bank of America enabling us to launch the program. Together, we will grow a strong pipeline of Black innovators and create a robust ecosystem of entrepreneurial excellence in Atlanta and beyond.”

Plans include providing certifications in project management, data science, coding and cybersecurity to empower Black entrepreneurs with the technological tools they need to succeed. In addition, the CBE will explore partnerships with Atlanta-based higher education programs, the broader HBCU community and schools that have prominent national models to provide co-curricular programing.

Funding for the development of the CBE comes from Bank of America as part of its $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, which includes support to minority entrepreneurs, as well as a focus on education, jobs, health and housing.

“Morehouse and Spelman are two of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges primarily serving the Black community and have some of the highest social mobility rates in the country,” said Wendy Stewart, Atlanta market president for Bank of America. “Partnering with these historic institutions will be instrumental in supporting our next generation of entrepreneurs that will ultimately create economic opportunity and generate jobs in Atlanta.”

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 14th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and partnerships have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit www.spelman.edu.

About Bank of America
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News). For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom and register for email alerts.

About the Black Economic Alliance Foundation
The Black Economic Alliance is a coalition of Black business leaders and allies committed to driving economic progress for the Black community with a focus on work, wages, and wealth. The BEA Foundation is the 501c3 charitable nonprofit affiliate of the Black Economic Alliance. The BEA Foundation works with leaders in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to produce, research, and analyze data to diagnose the obstacles to Black economic mobility and prescribe practical solutions to create better access to good-paying jobs, a living wage, and wealth creation for Black people. The BEA Foundation also crafts programs that convene leaders across industries around initiatives that will produce better economic outcomes for Black people. For more information, visit: foundation.blackeconomicalliance.org

About Morehouse College
Morehouse College is the only historically Black college dedicated to educating men. Founded in 1867, Morehouse is a private, liberal arts institution and the nation's top producer of Black men who go on to receive doctorates. The College is the top producer of Rhodes Scholars among HBCUs and was named to the list of U.S. institutions that produced the most Fulbright Scholars in 2019-2020. As the epicenter for thought leadership on civil rights, Morehouse is committed to helping the nation address the inequities caused by institutional racism, which has created social and economic disparities for people of African descent. Prominent Morehouse alumni include: Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General; Shelton "Spike" Lee, Academy Award-winning American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta; Jeh Johnson, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; Louis W. Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; Bakari Sellers, attorney and CNN political analyst; Randall Woodfin, elected as the youngest mayor of Birmingham in 120 years; and U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, Georgia’s first Black U.S. senator from Georgia. For more information, visit: https://morehouse.edu.

 

 

 

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