Mastercard announced that it would be donating $5 million in grants to Morehouse College and Spelman College to launch the Center for Black Entrepreneurship, reports WSBTV.
The project is a partnership with the Black Economic Alliance Foundation, a collective of business leaders who strive for Black economic progress through advocacy and civic engagement. The center will offer resources such as the creation of an online entrepreneurship-focused program along with courses designed to provide up-and-coming business leaders with the skills necessary to develop as entrepreneurs.
“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.”
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman College, believes that the flagship program will be vital in the elimination of the racial wealth gap.
“We are excited by the possibility of building an entrepreneurship curriculum within our outstanding department of economics,” she said in a statement. “Through the support of Mastercard, the College will be able to build curricular and co-curricular strength that encourages and supports AUC students’ intent on the creation and sustainability of new businesses that will ultimately create wealth within our communities."
The gift is part of a larger focus of the Mastercard Impact Fund, the company's philanthropic arm. Over five years, Mastercard is committing $500 million to support projects centered on financial literacy, ending economic inequality, and making financial resources available to Black entrepreneurs who are seeking capital for their business.
The Center for Black Entrepreneurship will be located on the campuses of Spelman College and Morehouse College. Spelman plans to house the center in its brand new Center for Innovation & the Arts, while Morehouse will house it within a new facility on campus.