Bank of America has forged the ultimate partnership with the Black Economic Alliance Foundation, Morehouse College and Spelman College in an effort to build a new Center for Black Entrepreneurship (CBE) to empower the next generation of Black business leaders.

A press release reports that the development of this new project — powered by a two-year $10 million grant — comes as a first-of-its-kind academic center created to “assemble, educate and empower a new class of Black entrepreneurial talent.”

The idea behind the CBE is to not only provide more opportunities for young aspiring Black entrepreneurs, but also to show how important it is to come together and support a cause that’s crucial to our future in this country.

“The Center for Black Entrepreneurship will help close the opportunity gaps among industry, the investment community and Black entrepreneurs. The CBE will harness the multiplier effect of education, exposure, mentorship, access to capital and opportunity,” said David Clunie, Executive Director of the Black Economic Alliance, in a statement. “The Black Economic Alliance is proud to partner with Spelman and Morehouse to bring this unique initiative to fruition, and we appreciate the anchor funding from Bank of America enabling us to launch the program. Together, we will grow a strong pipeline of Black innovators and create a robust ecosystem of entrepreneurial excellence in Atlanta and beyond.”

According to a press release, the new center will focus on the following key areas:

      • Creating a business
      • Launching a start-up
      • Evolving and translating a business concept
      • Acquiring and/or repositioning an existing business
      • Scaling promising innovations into commercially viable products or services
      • Connecting with venture capital firms

Additionally, the CBE will also explore partnerships with Atlanta-based higher education programs, the HBCU community at-large and schools that already possess prominent national models providing co-curricular programming.

The CBE’s slate of holistic programming will invite successful entrepreneurs and leaders from venture capital, private equity and other fields to be guest lecturers and mentors.

The CBE will be built upon the campuses of Spelman College and Morehouse College in southwest Atlanta. Spelman plans to house the CBE in its new academic facility — the Center for Innovation & the Arts — while Morehouse will house its CBE within a brand-new facility.

These two esteemed HBCUs, alongside the Black Economic Alliance Foundation, have formed a meaningful relationship with Bank of America to signify the new direction major corporations are moving in to lend their support through funding.

“Bank of America’s gift to Spelman and Morehouse enables our institutions to create a dynamic academic experience for aspiring Black entrepreneurs,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell — Ph.D., president of Spelman College — in a press statement. “We appreciate Bank of America for its investment in institutions that affirm identity, history and culture in developing the next generation of Black entrepreneurs.”

The CBE seeks to ultimately eliminate the access barriers among Black entrepreneurs, professional investors, and business builders by leveraging education, mentorship, access to capital and opportunity.

By building on each school’s existing culture of strong entrepreneurship programs, the CBE will only further help expand their business ecosystems, extend the pipeline of Black innovation, and bridge the divide between the business and tech communities to lead us toward a more inclusive future.

“As an alumna of Spelman College, I know firsthand the lasting and meaningful impact the institution can make on its students and surrounding community,” Cynthia Bowman — chief diversity & inclusion and talent acquisition officer for Bank of America — said in a statement. “This collective partnership will work to eliminate existing barriers by providing unique opportunities to Black entrepreneurs, ultimately fueling Black innovation and economic mobility within the next generation.”

Funding for the CBE stems from Bank of America’s $1 billion, four-year commitment to advancing racial equality and economic opportunity, which includes supporting minority entrepreneurs as well as a focus on education, jobs, health and housing.

For more information about Bank of America’s other inclusive initiatives and efforts, click here.