Atlanta Center for Black Entrepreneurship
By Wendy Stewart, Atlanta Market President for Bank of America
For years, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have been instrumental in advancing economic mobility among underrepresented populations, offering students access to a quality education, pathways to stable employment and a lifelong network of alumni across the globe. Atlanta is fortunate enough to be home to some of these most historic and distinguished institutions.
Education is one of the most powerful tools available in addressing economic and social inequality; college graduates have access to a greater range of jobs, enjoy longer careers and earn higher salaries on average than those without college degrees. But, for many in the Black community, additional barriers exist not only in the pursuit of higher education, but entrepreneurial endeavors after college as well. A recent survey of Black business owners found that a majority of entrepreneurs of color (82%) have had to work harder to achieve success, with more than half of respondents (56%) indicating challenges accessing capital have limited their business growth.
To create more economic opportunity, generate jobs and advance racial equity in Atlanta, we at Bank of America are partnering with the Black Economic Alliance (BEA) Foundation, Morehouse College and Spelman College to develop the Center for Black Entrepreneurship (CBE). The CBE will be the first-ever academic center of its kind to produce, train and support a new class of Black entrepreneurial talent.
The CBE seeks to eliminate the barriers facing Black entrepreneurs, professional investors and business builders by leveraging education, mentorship and access to capital. By building on the existing culture of leadership and ingenuity at both Morehouse and Spelman, the CBE will help expand the business ecosystem, grow the pipeline of Black innovation, and bridge the divide between the business and tech communities and the next generation of Black entrepreneurs.
This landmark partnership is just one component of our ongoing efforts to address the local issues that matter most: helping Atlantans thrive through education, career skills training, affordable housing and support for small businesses.
We are honored to contribute to the rich history of these two storied universities as we help them meet the demands of the present: developing the next generation of minority entrepreneurs.