ATLANTA — Mastercard on Wednesday announced it is giving out a total of $5 million in grants to two Atlanta Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help develop the Center for Black Entrepreneurship.
The CBE will further the development of cutting-edge entrepreneurial programming, thought leadership, networking and academic and mentorship opportunities for aspiring Black entrepreneurs, Mastercard said.
“For over a century, HBCUs have played a critical role in nurturing professional talent and creating economic mobility in Black communities,” said Salah Goss, senior vice president for social impact at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “By investing in HBCUs, Mastercard is intentionally choosing key institutions who we believe can be catalytic in furthering our commitment to ensuring that the digital economy works for the Black community, and for everyone, everywhere.”
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In partnership with the Black Economic Alliance Foundation, Morehouse College and Spelman College are in the process of establishing the CBE with financial support from Mastercard, among others. The CBE will help assemble, educate and empower a new generation of Black entrepreneurial talent. Specifically, the CBE will focus on eliminating opportunity gaps between Black entrepreneurs, professional investors and business builders by leveraging education, mentorship and access to capital and opportunity.
“Its amazing to hear of donors continuing to support our schools because we are the future,” said Spelman senior Taylor Moorer.
The CBE will be located on the campuses of Spelman College and Morehouse College in southwest Atlanta. Spelman plans to house it in its new academic facility, the Center for Innovation & the Arts, and Morehouse will house it within a new facility on campus.
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The Atlanta metro area is home to 57 colleges and universities and over 100,000 Black-owned businesses, making it a hub for Black students and entrepreneurs. Despite Atlanta being the ninth-largest metro area in the country and housing the second-largest population of Black people in America, there is a significant disconnect between venture capital firms that are traditionally West Coast-based and emerging Black student entrepreneurs, who are disproportionately located on the East Coast and in the South.
“Diversity among graduates is vital because once you hear more voices from all corners of the U.S. its makes us better as a society and as a country,” said Moorer.
The philanthropic funding, delivered by the Mastercard Impact Fund, is part of Mastercard’s $500 million, five-year In Solidarity commitment to advance racial equity and economic opportunity through city programs to support Black communities, affordable financial tools and services, and expanding access to capital and resources for Black-owned businesses.
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