Inaugural HU Entrepreneurship Week Launches Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship

Inaugural HU Entrepreneurship Week Launches Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship

3BL Media, AP News

The Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship announces its official launch today, the pinnacle of Howard’s inaugural HU Entrepreneurship Week.

Over the past several days, Howard has hosted panel discussions, networking events and a business pitch competition, with activities culminating today in the national launch of the Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship. The event, a celebration of the shared commitment to advancing Black entrepreneurship, brought together students, alumni, business experts and aspiring entrepreneurs to network, strategize and spark engagement across the community.

The keynote fireside chat included a moderated discussion between Wayne A.I. Frederick, Howard University president, and T.D. Jakes, chairman and CEO of the T.D. Jakes Group. Other prominent speakers included Nicholas Perkins (Fuddruckers owner and CEO), Askale Davis (TV personality and lifestyle content creator), Kayla Austin (current Howard student and 2022 Black Ambition HBCU Prize Winner), and Gary Rahman and his children Kali and Spirit (founders of Stock Up).

Established in 2021 with a five-year, $16.8 million grant from The PNC Foundation, The Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship is aimed at building resources and support for Black business owners across the country. The National Center will support expanded opportunities for Black entrepreneurship with educational, leadership and capacity-building resources and programs nationwide.

“HBCUs are driving impactful change in entrepreneurship, education and economic development for Black businesses and the broader community, which directly aligns with PNC’s efforts to provide economic opportunity for all,” said Richard Bynum, chief corporate responsibility officer for PNC. “Through PNC’s partnership with Howard, we’re building extensive resources to enhance entrepreneurial opportunities for aspiring Black business leaders for the betterment of all the communities we serve.”

A regional roadshow will follow the National Center launch event beginning April 11 at Clark Atlanta University, April 13 at Texas Southern University and April 19 at Morgan State University. These HBCUs will partner alongside Howard as regional hubs for the National Center, allowing for the effective coordination of programs and activities across the nation’s network of more than 100 HBCUs and their communities, including education programs, research strategies and business outreach.
A major focus for the National Center and its regional partners is to create an innovative national entrepreneurial network across HBCUs and Black entrepreneurial support organizations. This effort will expand access to entrepreneurship opportunities by engaging youth, HBCU students, and Black business owners in growing their enterprises, with a goal of increasing employment and generational wealth in Black communities. The partners will also come together for the inaugural Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship National Conference in Washington, D.C., June 14-16.

The PNC Foundation grant is part of PNC’s $88 billion Community Benefits Plan that began Jan. 1, 2022. The plan will provide at least $88 billion in loans, investments and other financial support to benefit low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals, communities, and people of color over a four-year period.