PNC Bank will award more than $2 million to five historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in North Carolina with a goal to create more entrepreneurs who can then create more jobs.
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,-based bank made the announcement Tuesday, saying it had established the “PNC North Carolina HBCU Initiative.”
The three-year grant will fund entrepreneurship resources, curriculums and fellowship opportunities for students at Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, North Carolina Central University and Winston-Salem State University.
Why it matters: According to some studies, small businesses are a major driver for creating new jobs in the United States.
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“We’re collaborating with these five institutions because we share their vision of advancing inclusive entrepreneurship education and opportunities,” Jim Hansen, PNC regional president for eastern Carolinas, said during a news conference. “At the core, empowering black entrepreneurs translates to business ownership, jobs and wealth creation.”
Individual grants will range from $282,000 to $719,000, based on the scope of each school’s proposal.
JCSU President Clarence Armbrister said the money would help his students and the city of Charlotte.
“There are students out here looking for the opportunity to do this, so this not only enhances their ability to do that but hopefully increases the economic mobility of those in the Charlotte region,” he said.
In addition to the grants made to their schools, students from all five universities will get to participate in a PNC pitch competition, an annual event that allows student-entrepreneurs to showcase their business ideas and marketing skills.
Here’s how the schools will use their grant money: