The PNC Foundation is awarding more than $2 million in total to five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in North Carolina to establish the PNC North Carolina HBCU Initiative, an effort that aims to enrich the future of entrepreneurship and create workforce opportunities in the state.
Elizabeth City State University will receive a total of $312,000 over a three-year period to expand the Entrepreneur Lab, which offers resources and development opportunities for students interested in launching and marketing a business. Additionally, the funding will establish the PNC Entrepreneurship Fellow Program and support Viking Shark Entrepreneurship Week when teams from North Carolina HBCUs have the opportunity to practice pitching their business ideas in front of judges.
“Entrepreneurship is a powerful means to facilitate sustainable economic growth in northeastern North Carolina and beyond. Our students are the future innovators of our nation, and when we help them succeed, we all succeed,” said ECSU Chancellor Karrie G. Dixon. “Thank you to the PNC Foundation for this generous and impactful grant to help us enhance entrepreneurship resources for our students and continue to shape our future business leaders.”
“Elizabeth City State University plays an integral role in driving economic progress locally and preparing its students for success. PNC welcomes the opportunity to support the scale-up of ECSU’s entrepreneurship program portfolio, which will nurture and empower student-entrepreneurs,” said Jim Hansen, PNC regional president for Eastern Carolinas.
The HBCUs receiving PNC grant funds are Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, North Carolina Central University and Winston-Salem State University – institutions that play an integral role in cultivating Black business leaders and fostering wealth creation in Black communities.
With an emphasis on entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, the PNC North Carolina HBCU Initiative will enable grantee institutions to enhance their respective entrepreneurship curricula and offerings – from the introduction of new programs, to capacity-building opportunities, to technology enhancements. Additionally, students from all five schools will have the opportunity to participate in the PNC Pitch Competition, an annual forum where student-entrepreneurs can showcase innovative ideas and demonstrate their marketing skills.
About the PNC Foundation
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.
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