Michael B. Jordan and Serena Williams Partner to Help HBCU Students and Alums Launch Businesses

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Michael B. Jordan and Serena Williams want to give HBCU students or alums some coins for their businesses.

By Jasmine Alyce, Atlanta Black Star

Michael B. Jordan and Serena Williams are combining their star power to help elevate the businesses of HBCU students and alumni.

The “Creed” actor partnered with Invesco QQQ and Turner Sports to bring the inaugural HBCU basketball showcase to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Dec. 18. In addition to spotlighting the universities and the talented athletes that attend them, the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic is sponsoring a startup pitch competition that will give current students and alumni the opportunity to win up to $1 million toward growing their businesses.

“Invesco QQQ and Turner Sports have been amazing partners in helping bring this experience to life,” Jordan previously said in a statement announcing the showcase. “I grew up watching basketball games on TNT, so I am confident they will deliver this set of games to a true audience of basketball fans and their families in an exciting way.”

The pitch competition was created in partnership with Serena Williams‘ SerenaVentures and MaC Venture Capital. Participants who want their piece of the pie will be required to submit business proposals and investor decks online now through Nov. 18 to qualify.

“HBCUs are an integral part of our educational ecosystem and have long been centers of entrepreneurial excellence. We are thrilled to be partnering with Michael B. Jordan and MaC Ventures on highlighting the brilliant student and alumni founders,” Serena Ventures General Partner Alison Stillman said in a press release.

Click here to read the full article on Atlanta Black Star

Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega Is Using Art to Uplift Brown and Black Women

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Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega

By Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Pop Sugar

In 2017, Afro-Latinx visual artist Reyna Noriega began her career as a full-time creator. Little did she know that in just a few short years, she would have over 100,000 followers on Instagram, would be working with huge brands like Apple and Old Navy, and would design a cover for The New Yorker. Born and raised in Miami to a first-generation Cuban father and a Bahamian mother, Noriega, who is best-known for her bold, vibrant, graphic work, was destined to be an artist.

“My father is also an artist, and I became interested early on in just the magic of it all, being able to bring ideas to life on paper and communicate in a universal language,” Noriega told POPSUGAR in a recent interview. “I was always the ‘sensitive kid’ feeling a lot and thinking a lot, so art and writing were great outlets for me to get all of that under control and to be able to process my emotions.”

Now, Noriega’s art is being seen on a much wider scale and impacting thousands of people who follow her on social media or see her art on city walls and T-shirts. To get there, she had to put in a lot of work, including studying and learning on her own, despite the fact that she took art classes throughout high school and minored in art in college. Using the help of books and YouTube, Noriega honed her skills and eventually left her job as a teacher, with the full support of her parents.

“I was very fortunate that my family believed in me and my ability to make my passion a career and even help me make it happen! To this day, my mom is the person that helps me run my online shop, and they encourage me to strive higher,” Noriega told us.

By 2019, Noriega started doing brand work, after getting comfortable with her style and what she wanted to represent as an artist. It gradually became easier for her to align herself with brands that had the same mission. She is currently working on Amex’s “Always Welcome” design collective launch, which will provide businesses with signage for their storefronts and indicate their stance on inclusivity.

“Honestly, every time I get an email, I am honored and humbled that my name enters rooms I never thought would. From companies whose products I used to save up for at one point, like Apple, to legendary publications like The New Yorker, or having thousands and thousands of people wear a shirt I designed with Old Navy. It really is a dream come true,” she said.

Ultimately, it was Noriega embracing her culture and her commitment to advocating for Black and brown people through her art that got her there. She says her Afro-Caribbean culture is what brings “vibrancy and flavor” to her art. But we think it’s so much more than that. With just a single glance, it’s obvious that Noriega’s background informs her work. Her use of color, the way she showcases the female form, the various complexions and skin tones she celebrates in her work, and the stunning, tropics-inspired botanical scenes she often creates speak to exactly who she is and where she comes from.

“Art has always been a place I look to boost my mood, museums, galleries, [and] learning about art history. But unfortunately in those spaces, rarely did I ever feel I belong, because my story wasn’t told on those walls, and in the rare occasion it was, it only highlighted the struggles and traumas,” she said. “I wanted to create work that would lift moods and raise the self-efficacy of Black and brown women with positive representation and vibrant depictions of joy.”

Noriega describes the art she creates with a tremendous amount of care and respect. Her mission is to create art that represents and uplifts communities that are often left out of the conversation. “I focus on women because as a woman, I know all of the challenges and barriers we face,” she said. “Inequalities in pay, harmful messaging on body image, the ongoing fight for body autonomy . . . it can be really exhausting. Add on to that the challenges being a BIPOC, and it just magnifies. My art is meant to celebrate women, inspire joy, and a reclamation of peace and rest.”

Noriega recognizes how important it is to not only amplify voices like hers but also to use her gifts and resources to speak up for people who don’t have the same advantages that she does. Even as a Black Latina, she’s cognizant of the privileges she has and the responsibility associated with them. “For me personally, I often look at my identities as a privilege, which pushes me to amplify Black voices even more. I am all too aware of the advantages I have received being a Latina in Miami, and even being ethnically Caribbean, although my race is Black,” she said. “Being able to say where your lineage comes from is a privilege many Black Americans don’t have. I have been unfairly judged and treated and had some very hurtful comments said to me, but I must also be aware of how my skin tone provides privileges, how my heritage provides privileges, and how knowing more than one language is a privilege.” And in recognizing that, she’s able to leverage her position to empower others in really visible ways.

Click here to read the full article on Pop Sugar.

How Black tech entrepreneurs are tackling health care’s race gap

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entrepreneurs photo: (from left) Kevin Dedner founded Hurdle, a mental health startup that pairs patients with therapists. Ashlee Wisdom's company, Health in Her Hue, connects women of color with culturally sensitive medical providers. Nathan Pelzer's Clinify Health analyzes data to help doctors identify at-risk patients in underserved areas. Erica Plybeah's firm, MedHaul, arranges transport to medical appointments.

By Cara Anthony, NPR

When Ashlee Wisdom launched an early version of her health and wellness website, more than 34,000 users — most of them Black — visited the platform in the first two weeks. “It wasn’t the most fully functioning platform,” recalls Wisdom, 31. “It was not sexy.” But the launch was successful. Now, more than a year later, Wisdom’s company, Health in Her Hue, connects Black women and other women of color to culturally sensitive doctors, doulas, nurses and therapists nationally.

As more patients seek culturally competent care — the acknowledgment of a patient’s heritage, beliefs and values during treatment — a new wave of Black tech founders like Wisdom want to help. In the same way Uber Eats and Grubhub revolutionized food delivery, Black tech health startups across the United States want to change how people exercise, how they eat and also how they communicate with doctors.

Inspired by their own experiences, plus those of their parents and grandparents, Black entrepreneurs are launching startups that aim to close the cultural gap in health care with technology — and create profitable businesses at the same time.

Seeing problems and solutions others miss
“One of the most exciting growth opportunities across health innovation is to back underrepresented founders building health companies focusing on underserved markets,” says Unity Stoakes, president and co-founder of StartUp Health, a company headquartered in San Francisco that has invested in a number of health companies led by people of color. He says those leaders have “an essential and powerful understanding of how to solve some of the biggest challenges in health care.”

Platforms created by Black founders for Black people and communities of color continue to blossom because those entrepreneurs often see problems and solutions others might miss. Without diverse voices, entire categories and products simply would not exist in critical areas like health care, experts in business say.

“We’re really speaking to a need,” says Kevin Dedner, 45, founder of the mental health startup Hurdle. “Mission alone is not enough. You have to solve a problem.”

Dedner’s company, headquartered in Washington, D.C., pairs patients with therapists who “honor culture instead of ignoring it,” he says. He started the company three years ago, but more people turned to Hurdle after the killing of George Floyd.

In Memphis, Tenn., Erica Plybeah, 33, is focused on providing transportation. Her company, MedHaul, works with providers and patients to secure low-cost rides to get people to and from their medical appointments. Caregivers, patients or providers fill out a form on MedHaul’s website, then Plybeah’s team helps them schedule a ride.

While MedHaul is for everyone, Plybeah knows people of color, anyone with a low income and residents of rural areas are more likely to face transportation hurdles. She founded the company in 2017 after years of watching her mother take care of her grandmother, who’d had to have both legs amputated because of complications from Type 2 diabetes. They lived in the Mississippi Delta, where transportation options were scarce.

“For years, my family struggled with our transportation because my mom was her primary transporter,” Plybeah says. “Trying to schedule all of her doctor’s appointments around her work schedule was just a nightmare.”

Plybeah’s company recently received funding from Citi, the banking giant.

“I’m more than proud of her,” says Plybeah’s mother, Annie Steele. “Every step amazes me. What she is doing is going to help people for many years to come.”

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

Black Woman Wins $1M Global Teacher Prize

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Keisha Thorpe, a black woman who won a $1M global teacher prize

By BET Staff

A teacher from Maryland has won the prestigious Global Teacher Prize.

According to NBC News, on Nov. 10, it was announced that Keshia Thorpe, 42, who teaches at International High School at Langley Park in Bladensburg, Maryland, would be awarded the $1 million Global Teacher Prize, which is presented every year to a teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

“Education is a human right, and all children should be entitled to have access to it,” Thorpe said in a pre-recorded video message during an online broadcast from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris.

She continued, “Every child needs a champion, an adult who will never ever give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the very best they can be. This is exactly why teachers will always matter.”

Thorpe, who is originally from Jamaica, was selected from more than 8,000 applicants and her advocacy for students is impressive. NBC News reports she restructured her 12th grade English curriculum to make it culturally relevant to her students. Thorpe helps students with college applications and financial aid. Along with her twin sister, Dr. Treisha Thorpe, she co-founded the nonprofit U.S. Elite International Track, which assists student-athletes around the world to pursue scholarships to colleges and universities. Thorpe and her sister have helped over 500 students receive full track and field scholarships.

Thorpe told NBC News, “When I think about the students and how much their parents are sacrificing for them just to have an equitable education, it reminds me so much of my own journey. And so that’s why I go so hard for my students — because my story is their story.”

Click here to read the full article on BET.

HBCUs To Receive Major Boost In Tech Funding Due To President Biden’s Spending Bill

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HBCUs To Receive Major Boost In Tech Funding Due To President Biden’s Spending Bill

B, Talk of News

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) leaders are waiting with bated breath on the passage of President Joe Biden‘s Build Back Better agenda as it includes record funding for the Black colleges.

Biden’s bill would provide $6 billion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs at HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). Civil Rights and education advocates say the funding is paramount in order for HBCU to compete with top-tier research universities specializing in science and technology, such as M.I.T.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund president Harry Williams told NBC News that not one HBCU school has reached the level of a first-tier institution, schools that excel in research activities through doctoral programs. Tier 1 programs include Stanford, Harvard, Duke, and the University of Pennsylvania.

However, a dozen HBCUs are considered second-tier institutions and Williams said the funding could be a game-changer for HBCUs and MSIs looking to improve their STEM programs.

“The significance here is that there’s an opportunity for an HBCU to move into” the top echelon, and it requires this type of federal investment for that to happen,” he said. “We want to build on this to continue to demonstrate clearly this type of investment is only going to yield a positive outcome for the African American community.”

North Carolina A&T (N.C. A&T), the largest HBCU in America, has significant STEM and research projects, but faces a $100 million maintenance backlog. Passing the package would provide the funds needed to put N.C. A&T on a stronger financial foundation.

There has been a new focus on STEM and technology at HBCUs in recent years. Google, Microsoft and Apple have all announced HBCU technology programs.

HBCUs represent 3% of colleges and universities in the U.S., however, they enroll 10% of all Black students in the country. Additionally, 24% of Black graduates with a bachelor’s degree from an HBCU, majored in a STEM field.

Click here to read the full article on Talk of News.

Chance the Rapper says the idea to ‘man up’ is harmful to Black men’s mental health

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Chance the Rapper is not holding back when it comes speaking about the benefits of prioritizing mental health.

By David Artavia, Yahoo! Life

Chance the Rapper is not holding back when it comes speaking about the benefits of prioritizing mental health.

In a new interview with Taraji P. Henson and her best friend Tracie Jade on Facebook Watch’s Peace of Mind with Taraji, the rapper opened up about dealing with the “dark days” of his mental health and how it inspired him to fight for better mental health services in Black communities.

“I think Black men are naturally guarded,” he said when asked about the pressure many Black men face to “man up” and not show their emotions. “You kind of have to be [because] your weakness is preyed upon. So, I think it’s a defense mechanism. You go to a funeral, like, you kind of don’t want to cry. You know what I mean? You don’t want to subject yourself to the feeling of like, that weakness, of like, you know, it just takes a lot to be cathartic, to cry, to empty yourself.”

“I saw my friend killed in front of me when I was 19,” he continued. “I’ve seen people I didn’t know get killed too, and you become kind of like numb to it. Somebody else died last week. But it stays with you, you know what I mean? And you don’t realize until later [that] it could have lasting effects.”

It was these types of discoveries that led him to donate $1 million in 2019 to mental health services in his hometown of Chicago through SocialWorks, his nonprofit organization.

“A couple of years ago, I, for the first time experienced a friend, somebody that I knew from growing up, that was having a mental health crisis,” he said. “His family and his friends had exhausted their efforts over years and years of trying to help. I didn’t really know that much about this stuff. There’s probably a ton of situations where people, you know, we just wrote them off as like, ‘crazy,’ or like, ‘they was tweaking.’ But they were actually going through a chronic mental health disorder.”

After realizing “the kind of care” his friend needed “wasn’t available in the city” for those who can’t afford it, he decided to team up with local advocates to help build the change.

“We basically found every possible mental health initiative within the city of Chicago, and then within Cook County, and then eventually through the entire state of Illinois,” he explained. “[We] created this app that allows people to get in contact, whether it’s an in-person meeting or tele-health, with a mental health service provider, and get the help that they need, instantly from their phone. And it’s free.”

While Chance acknowledges it’s great that celebrities are starting to drive the message that “health is beyond just our physical state,” he argues that equal access to mental health services isn’t going to happen until those in power, particularly “our lawmakers and the billion-dollar companies,” rise to meet the community’s need.

“We’re talented people, but we’re not the people that make the big decisions,” he said. “We’re not the people that write the biggest checks. Those kind of things have to happen.”

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Life.

Lafayette Black woman’s journey to medical school is inspired by women and funded by Tampax

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Lafayette Black woman's journey to medical school is inspired by women and funded by Tampax

By , The Advocate

Sydney Ambrose has long found inspiration through the women in her life and hopes to one day inspire the next generation of girls.

Ambrose, a Lafayette native and pre-med student at Xavier University, credits her grandmother and her dermatologist for her success thus far. She was recently named a winner of the Tampax Flow It Forward Scholarship, which aims to close the representation gap of Black women in health care.

“Tampax is funding me to be able to pursue resources that will help me become a doctor and serve the minority community because there’s a lot of mistrust within that community,” Ambrose said. “So I think it’s important to have physicians of color and women physicians of color who can build that trust and communication that is very much needed.”

Ambrose, 20, is one of 12 scholarship recipients who will receive up to $10,000 in annual tuition assistance. The scholarship program aims to support the next generation of Black women who are pursuing degrees in health care. Black women account for less than 3% of doctors in the United States, even though Black women account for about 13% of the country’s population.

“I definitely want to help provide more access, which is a big part of this scholarship in that it’ll help me get there,” Ambrose said. “But a lot of those populations, they don’t have a Black dermatologist within reach.”

Ambrose said she was inspired to become a doctor after a visit with Dr. Jennifer Myers, a Lafayette dermatologist, when she was a teen.

“Of course she’s a female physician, so that’s obviously really inspiring for me,” Ambrose said. “But also, she didn’t just try and rush me out the door. She really took time and conversed with me and made me feel really comfortable.”

Click here to read the full article on The Advocate.

Advocating For Women Entrepreneurs: A Conversation With Women Impacting Public Policy President And CEO Candace Waterman

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Advocating For Women Entrepreneurs: A Conversation With Women Impacting Public Policy President And CEO Candace Waterman

By Rhett Buttle, Forbes

October is National Women’s Small Business Month where we take time to recognize the achievements of female entrepreneurs and their positive impact on the economy. Prior to Covid-19, women were the fastest-growing segment of small business owners in the United States.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has slowed this progress and compacted long-standing inequities. For example, women-only receives 4% of all commercial loan dollars and the federal government has only reached its mandated goal of awarding 5% of its contracts to Women-owned small businesses only twice.

As President and CEO of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), Candace Waterman leads a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs, strengthening their impact on our nation’s public policy, creating economic opportunities, and forging alliances with other business organizations. She has more than 35 years of experience across the private and public sectors and has owned three successful companies in the medical, real estate, and hospitality industries.

I recently had a conversation with Candace about the state of female entrepreneurs and WIPP’s efforts. I am grateful to her for taking the time to speak with me and below is a summary of our discussion.

Rhett Buttle: Before Covid, women were the fastest-growing segment of small business owners in the country. What can we do to support women who want to open businesses and rebuild that momentum?

Candace Waterman: It is true that prior to the pandemic, women were the fastest-growing segment of business owners in the county. While growth was strong across the board, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the fastest-growing sector was businesses owned by Black women. The pandemic has certainly turned back a huge amount of progress, as many women left the workforce or permanently closed their businesses, wiping out savings and losing out on wages and income.

From a business-to-consumer perspective, the easiest way to support women-owned businesses recovering from the pandemic is to do business with those locally, in your area. By doing so, you are helping them to keep their doors open. You may want to go a step further and recommend their businesses to friends and family. If you want to do more and have the resources to do so, you could also invest in women-owned businesses in the form of venture capital or by becoming an angel investor.

October is National Women’s Small Business Month where we take time to recognize the achievements of female entrepreneurs and their positive impact on the economy. Prior to Covid-19, women were the fastest-growing segment of small business owners in the United States.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has slowed this progress and compacted long-standing inequities. For example, women-only receives 4% of all commercial loan dollars and the federal government has only reached its mandated goal of awarding 5% of its contracts to Women-owned small businesses only twice.

As President and CEO of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), Candace Waterman leads a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs, strengthening their impact on our nation’s public policy, creating economic opportunities, and forging alliances with other business organizations. She has more than 35 years of experience across the private and public sectors and has owned three successful companies in the medical, real estate, and hospitality industries.

I recently had a conversation with Candace about the state of female entrepreneurs and WIPP’s efforts. I am grateful to her for taking the time to speak with me and below is a summary of our discussion.

Rhett Buttle: Before Covid, women were the fastest-growing segment of small business owners in the country. What can we do to support women who want to open businesses and rebuild that momentum?

Candace Waterman: It is true that prior to the pandemic, women were the fastest-growing segment of business owners in the county. While growth was strong across the board, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the fastest-growing sector was businesses owned by Black women. The pandemic has certainly turned back a huge amount of progress, as many women left the workforce or permanently closed their businesses, wiping out savings and losing out on wages and income.

From a business-to-consumer perspective, the easiest way to support women-owned businesses recovering from the pandemic is to do business with those locally, in your area. By doing so, you are helping them to keep their doors open. You may want to go a step further and recommend their businesses to friends and family. If you want to do more and have the resources to do so, you could also invest in women-owned businesses in the form of venture capital or by becoming an angel investor.

Another, very important way to support women-owned businesses is to incorporate them into supplier diversity pipelines and supplier development programs and give them a seat at the table when discussing matters related to small business. When women don’t have a seat at the table, their voices get lost and they can’t share their pain points and what would be most helpful to them from a solutions perspective.

Click here to read the full article on Forbes.

Netflix Establishes $5.4 Million Chadwick A. Boseman Scholarship at Howard University

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Netflix Establishes $5.4 Million Chadwick A. Boseman Scholarship at Howard University

By Globe News Wire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Howard University and Netflix today have announced a $5.4 million endowed scholarship to honor alumnus Chadwick A. Boseman, the esteemed actor, director, writer and producer. The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will provide incoming students in the College of Fine Arts with a four-year scholarship to cover the full cost of University tuition.

“It is with immense pleasure and deep gratitude that we announce the creation of an endowed scholarship in honor of alumnus Chadwick Boseman, whose life and contributions to the arts continue to inspire,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University. “This scholarship embodies Chadwick’s love for Howard, his passion for storytelling, and his willingness to support future generations of Howard students. I am thankful for the continuous support and partnership of Chadwick’s wife, Mrs. Simone Ledward-Boseman, and to Netflix for this important gift.”

The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship was established with the support of Boseman’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, and sponsorship from Netflix, the inaugural donor. The first four scholarships will be awarded to one recipient in each class, beginning this Fall 2021, and will continue to be distributed to an incoming freshman each year on an annual basis. The scholarship will focus on students who exemplify exceptional skills in the arts, reminiscent of Boseman, and who demonstrate financial need.

“Many exemplary artists are not afforded the opportunity to pursue higher learning. We hope to support as many students as possible by removing the financial barrier to education. This endowment represents Chad’s devotion to the craft, his compassion for others and his desire to support future storytellers,” said Ledward-Boseman. “My deepest thanks to Ted Sarandos, Scott Stuber and our family at Netflix for their generous investment into the education of all present and future Boseman Scholars, and to President Wayne Frederick, Dean Phylicia Rashad and Mr. David Bennett for their partnership and continued commitment to Chad’s legacy at Howard. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed at the love and dedication shown by so many continuing to honor my husband’s work. I know he’d be proud.”

“It is with enormous pride that we announce our endowment of the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship. While he was taken from us too soon, his spirit is with us always in his work and the good that he has inspired. He always spoke of his time at Howard and the positive way it shaped his life and career. Now, we will have the opportunity to give many future superheroes a chance to experience the same” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer. “We are grateful to Simone and Chadwick’s whole family and our partners at Howard University for making this possible.”

In continuing the actor’s legacy, preference for the scholarship will be given to students in the dramatic arts who exemplify Boseman’s values. Students who receive the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will have demonstrated:

  • A drive for excellence. Students who are continuously working toward improvement and putting in time above and beyond the basic requirements. This includes engagement in academic departments, campus, or community organizations.
  • Leadership. Students who have the personal fortitude to do what is right, even when this means they are in the minority. They exhibit honesty and are trustworthy, caring, and ethical. They keep their word and honor their commitments while accepting consequences and admitting their mistakes.
  • Respect. Students who treat others fairly. They listen to and accept input from others. They maintain self-control and exhibit consideration for the things and people that they encounter.
  • Empathy. Students who show kindness and understanding toward all those they encounter and actively listen in an effort to understand the unique experiences of others. They advocate for their community by identifying needs and working to meet them.
  • Passion. Students who show an ardent desire to absorb all aspects of the art of storytelling. They understand the deeply rooted, critical importance of storytellers as cultural historians and aspire to inform, uplift, and strengthen their community through their work.

Click here to read the full article on Globe News Wire.

Clark Atlanta University to Lead Regional Center for Entrepreneurship as part of PNC $16.8 Million Grant

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Motion blurred shot of two business people talking through modern office hallway. People walking in office entrance hall.

Clark Atlanta University will be one of four HBCUs to lead a Regional Center for Entrepreneurship, thanks to a $16.8 million PNC grant.

The national center will be located on the campus of Howard University, and will use a regional structure to include programming at three regional HBCUs—Clark Atlanta University, Morgan State University, and Texas Southern University. CAU will lead the South region, including HBCUs in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Each regional center will lead HBCU partners in their respective areas to coordinate education programs, research strategies, business outreach, and other community outreach efforts at partner HBCUs across the country.

A significant focus for the Center and its regional HBCU partners is to engage the black business community in growing their enterprises, thereby positively impacting the community and increasing employment and wealth for the black community.

“Clark Atlanta University’s entrepreneurial legacy extends back to the intellectual genealogy of W. E. B. Du Bois, who served as a professor of economics and sociology at Atlanta University for over 23 years in the early 20th century,” said CAU President, Dr. George T. French, Jr. “Clark Atlanta University, as well as many HBCUs, are engaged with passion and unfettered creativity to initiatives to enhance black entrepreneurship within the university and their communities.  We have always been at the forefront of entrepreneurship education, including established partnerships with entrepreneurs globally.”

The CAU School of Business Administration (CAUSBA), celebrating 75 years of excellence this year, will oversee the Regional Center and will complement ongoing and evolving activities in the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development (CIED). CIED was established to develop a campus-wide entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem and Lab/Maker Space.  It offers Innovation and Design Thinking Courses and Workshops; Ideation, Lean Start-Up, and Small Business Mentoring; 3D Printing & Prototyping; Tech Transfer and Commercialization Support; Hackathons; and Business Pitch Competitions.

“CIED is the optimal focal point for innovative initiatives involving campus and community stakeholders,” says School of Business Administration Dean Silvanus Udoka.  “The Regional Center for Entrepreneurship will broaden the platform for our scholars to accelerate discovery, spark innovation, and creativity to spawn the launching of our students’ entrepreneurial endeavors and professional careers.”

CAU’s School of Business also has an Entrepreneur-In-Residence program that brings experienced entrepreneurs to the School of Business Administration to advise and assist students and faculty as they launch startups or explore the commercialization of research.  EIRs provide mentorship and guidance to the CAU community on business strategy and design, and social impact.  They also connect investors with inventors, creators, and researchers.

“We are grateful to PNC for providing us with the means to enhance our entrepreneurial initiatives, while promoting collaborations as amongst HBCUs such as Howard University and other prominent regional collaborators” said President French.

About Clark Atlanta University

Established in 1988 by the historic consolidation of Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869). Clark Atlanta University continues a more than 150-year legacy rooted in African-American tradition and focused on the future. Through global innovation, transformative educational experiences, and high-value engagement. CAU cultivates lifted lives that transform the world. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson; American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing “The Black National Anthem”; Ralph David Abernathy Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit www.cau.edu.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson talks possibility of political future: ‘I care deeply about our country’

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Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson talks possibility of political future: 'I care deeply about our country'

By Jessica Napoli, Fox News

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the biggest stars in the world and even though he’s only teased running for president in the past, in a new interview he admitted he’s taken plans one step beyond that.

While speaking to Vanity Fair, the 49-year-old actor/producer/businessman said he’s spoken to people in the political arena and done “a small amount of research and analysis to see where this [support] comes from and to see what it could look like in the future.”

Johnson revealed, “Indicators are all very positive — in, for example, 2024, and in, for example, 2028.”

The former pro wrestling star confirmed he hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of having a political future but “at the end of the day, I don’t know the first thing about politics. I don’t know the first thing about policy.”

“I care deeply about our country. I care about every f–king American who bleeds red, and that’s all of them. And — there’s no delusion here — I may have some decent leadership qualities, but that doesn’t necessarily make me a great presidential candidate. That’s where I am today,” Johnson confirmed.

The “Jungle Cruise” actor last spoke about his political aspirations back in April on the “TODAY” show. “I do have that goal to unite our country,” he told host Willie Geist. “I also feel that, if this is what the people want, then I will do that.”

Johnson went on to note that the ability to unify Americans is a necessity for the longevity of the nation.

“I am passionate about making sure that our country is united because a united country, as we know, is the strongest, and I want to see that for our country,” he concluded.

Johnson also responded on social media to a poll that claimed he would have massive support from Americans if he actually established and ran a presidential campaign.

“I don’t think our Founding Fathers EVER envisioned a six-four, bald, tattooed, half-Black, half-Samoan, tequila drinking, pick up truck driving, fanny pack wearing guy joining their club – but if it ever happens it’d be my honor to serve you, the people,” Johnson tweeted at the time.

The actor isn’t known for speaking about politics often but broke his own protocol last year to endorse Joe Biden for president in his first public backing of a candidate.

After Biden’s win, he shared another video to Instagram congratulating the president on his victory, admitting that he felt “emotional” when the news broke.

Click here to read the full article on Fox News.

October Is Black Professionals Month, A Push To Make Corporate Leadership More Diverse

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The first day of October is the first day of a month-long push to help make corporate leadership more diverse. It’s the brain-child of two black executives who say it’s time to have more diversity at the top, so they are trying something new.

It’s called Black Professionals Month, 31 days of events, recognitions and celebrations.

Denise Kaigler is one of the co-founders. She told WBZ-TV it’s time to work together. Watch video here.

“There is a such a great opportunity for us to come together, black professionals to come together, to work together, to increase our presence, black professionals’ presence in leadership roles around the world,” Kaigler said.

October 1st starts a month-long series of virtual events and speakers, all with the goal of inspiring and coaching black talent.

“We are also going to be bringing speakers together to host sessions that cover a wide range of topics that impact the ability of black professionals to climb up that corporate ladder, personal branding, career advancement sessions,” Kaigler told WBZ.

Right now, she says, the numbers are bad. Black professionals hold only 3.2 percent of all executive or senior leadership roles in America, a change she knows can’t happen by the end 31 days, but one they plan to push for years to come.

Read the complete article on CBS local.

‘Shark Tank’ Hires Emma Grede To Be First Black Woman On Panel

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On Shark Tank Emma Grede To Be First Black Woman On Panel

By Alexis Reese, BET

There’s a new shark in town!

For the newest season of Shark Tank, the series will have its first Black woman shark on the panel. Good American CEO and SKIMS founding partner Emma Grede, will be one of this season’s guest panelists. She will join recurring sharks, Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner and Barbara Corcoran.

Grede, an entrepreneur from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by way of London, will make her grand appearance during the season premiere on Oct. 8, according to Shadow And Act.

Grede graduated with a business degree in business studies at The London College of Fashion and has worked with brands like Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Zac Posen, Christopher Kane, Chivas, Mercedes-Benz, and Sky.

She currently is the chairman of entertainment brand ITB with clients like Calvin Klein, Net-a-Porter and H&M.

‘I’ve been doing celebrity partnerships for a long time, and I started to realize that a lot of what I was being asked to do was to put together very ‘diverse’ campaigns,” she told ELLE UK. “Oftentimes, I would cast women [in a campaign] for a brand that didn’t make clothes that would fit them. ‘I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if we created a company where we made clothes for every woman, and the company looked exactly like the ‘diverse’ campaign, with me at the helm, a Black woman?’, and it worked.”

Click here to read the full article on BET.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022

Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022