Written By Nigel Roberts
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) can improve the economic well-being of Black folks who live in cities where the institutions are located.
African Americans in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina earn higher than average median incomes, own homes and businesses at higher rates, and benefit in many other ways partly because those cities are homes to HBCUs, according to Bloomberg News.
Many HBCUs, in partnership with local businesses, help to develop Black entrepreneurs who become employers and investors in African-American communities. The Carolina Small Business Development Fund, for example, collaborates with Shaw University in Raleigh by providing resources to Black innovators, the news outlet noted.
Those two North Carolina cities are far from alone in providing economic development in the Black community. Bowie State University in Maryland operates the Bowie Business Innovation Center, a non-profit incubator for business startups that also organizes internships to students. In January 2017, Bowie BIC launched a second office location, called Bowie BIC NEXT, for graduates of its 36-month business accelerator program to keep those businesses thriving in the City of Bowie and Prince George’s County.
Morehouse College’s Entrepreneurship Center in Atlanta has one goal: “to increase small business development.” One of its focuses has been to increase the pool of minority angel investors. Minorities account for less than 5 percent of these critical sources of funding who helped to launch 73,400 small businesses in 2014, according to the center.
At the same time, HBCUs also attract companies that appreciate the benefits of workforce diversity, according to the Brookings Institution. The Black institutions provide a pool of educated employees and can leverage their specialized degree programs.