Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is breaking barriers for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well as Black entrepreneurs with a powerful call to action.
According to an announcement, the southern institution has announced a new partnership with Operation HOPE for a national initiative committed to creating one million Black businesses by 2030. The new pledge makes CAU the first HBCU to participate in the $130 million Shopify-funded initiative.
The One Million Black Business Initiative (1MBB) also includes generating 1,000 Black entrepreneurs and business owners over the course of its nearly decade-long commitment. Through the 1MBB, CAU will have an opportunity to engage HBCU students, alumni, faculty and staff to grant them access to resources and capital to help successfully jumpstart and sustain their entrepreneurial ventures.
“CAU students—and alumni— are ambitious, creative and filled with innovative ideas. It is the CAU way,” said president George T. French Jr., Ph.D. in a statement. “We are proud to be the first university to join in this partnership formed to make a difference in the world of business for African-American entrepreneurs. Joining this effort to create one million black businesses while helping entrepreneurs in the CAU community aligns with our business school’s mission to produce alumni and entrepreneurs who are competitive in the business world. The 1MBB program provides opportunities for Black entrepreneurs to thrive.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently over 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the U.S., and Atlanta leads as one of the top five cities for Black entrepreneurs. Through the 1MBB program, aspiring Black business-owners will continue to be amplified and receive premium tools like top-of-the-line coaching, educational resources and social media support and advertising from iHeartMedia Atlanta.
By using CAU as a vessel for this initiative, Operation HOPE will have a direct pipeline to Black entrepreneurs and businesses to effectively support its broader mission to promote financial inclusion within underserved communities in America.
“HBCU’s matter and the future of Black entrepreneurship matters. This is why we started 1MBB,” Operation HOPE founder and CEO John Hope Bryant said in a statement. “Through this partnership with CAU, we are accelerating the success of our future leaders. I’m looking forward to ringing the bell at NASDAQ for the first Clark Atlanta graduate who has benefited from 1MBB.”
In addition to its new partnership, CAU is also a recent recipient of a $3.6 million research and education grant from the National Science Foundation, a press release reports. The grant will be used to establish a new program developing next generation materials for electronic devices over the next six years.
“This grant will provide a great opportunity for Clark Atlanta University and partnering institutions to significantly strengthen the research footprint in the area of materials science,” said French, Jr. in a statement. “It will also provide opportunities for an increased number of CAU students to pursue academic and professional careers in STEM fields. We find this extremely exciting.”