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Thursday, September 16, 2021, 12:50 AM

Mastercard will collaborate with Spelman College and other leading HBCUs to further efforts to increase black economic inclusion.

With the support of the Black Economic Alliance Foundation, and with locations on the campuses of Spelman and Morehouse, the Center for Black Entrepreneurship (CBE) will serve as an incubator for high-potential, Black-owned start-ups, as well as a new generation of African-American entrepreneurial talent.

The funding will assist the hiring of additional adjunct professors, the establishment of an online entrepreneurship program, and the construction of experiential courses that will allow students to put what they have learned in the classroom into practice.

It is part of Mastercard's $500 million, five-year commitment to advance racial equity and economic opportunity through city programs to support Black communities, affordable financial tools and services, as well as expanding access to capital and resources for Black-owned businesses. The philanthropic funding will be delivered by the Mastercard Impact Fund.

Designed to have a catalytic impact on economic growth in Black communities, the Mastercard investment builds on the company's commitment to bolstering employee recruitment and HBCU programming through new and expanded partnerships with HBCUs and in collaboration with the Congressional HBCU Caucus, as well as other initiatives.

While historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) account for just three percent of all colleges and universities in the United States, they account for 25 percent of all Black STEM graduates. The strength of their alumni networks and scholarship programs, coupled with the cultural and historical importance that they have, uniquely position them to be catalysts for inclusive development in the Black community, according to the organization.

With greater financing, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) will be able to expand the already important role they play in educating and developing the next generation of Black entrepreneurs and innovators. The study funded by these funds will also provide practical insights for policymakers, business leaders, and civil society organizations that are interested in using data science to promote racial equality and inclusive development.