PNC Foundation Awards $16.8M to Fund Entrepreneurship Center at Howard University

PITTSBURGH – The PNC Foundation today announced a five-year, $16.8 million grant to create The Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship. The center will support expanded opportunities for Black entrepreneurship with enhanced educational, leadership and capacity-building resources and programs nationwide. All of this furthers PNC’s overall commitment to increase access to financial services and capital to Black and minority entrepreneurs and their small businesses.

The goal is to create a center for entrepreneurship education and research that serves the nation’s network of 101 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and their communities. The $16.8 million grant is part of PNC’s $88 billion community benefits plan announced in April, which is one aspect of PNC’s commitment of more than $1.5 billion to support the economic empowerment of Black Americans and low- and moderate-income communities. The community benefits plan will provide at least $88 billion in loans, investments and other financial support to benefit low- and moderate-income individuals and communities, people and communities of color, and other underserved individuals and communities over a four-year period.

“We are making significant progress on our commitment to support the economic empowerment of Black Americans and low- to moderate-income communities. The five-year grant to create a nationally recognized Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship is a major part of this pledge,” said Richard Bynum, chief corporate responsibility officer for PNC.

The center will be located on Howard University’s campus, but will also include programming at four regional HBCUs, which will coordinate programs, research and other community outreach efforts across the country. The center will utilize a regional structure with Howard University, Morgan State University, Clark Atlanta University and Texas Southern University, each leading one of four regions to allow for effective coordination of programs and activities across all HBCUs.

“In addition to enhancing entrepreneurship education, the center will be a significant resource not only to the HBCU institutions, but also to the community at large in innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, and regional technological and economic development,” said Bynum. Educational programs, including those focused on leadership development, financial management, technology and entrepreneurship, will be offered at the center as well as through virtual platforms with partner HBCUs.

Another goal will be to help build Black small business capacity by leveraging partnerships with local chambers of commerce and other institutions to provide mentorship and networking opportunities. The center will also partner with Black businesses to improve credit, increase access to capital, provide undergraduate and graduate students hands-on experience in working with Black businesses and entrepreneurs, provide access to technologies that can increase the success of Black businesses, provide access to universities’ procurement process, and assist in applying for loans and access to capital.

SOURCE: PNC Foundation and The Howard University.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.