A pilot project targeting HBCUs is seeking to boost minority owned businesses in the Mississippi Delta. MPBs Desare Frazier reports.
Six historically black colleges and universities in the Delta region will be selected to take part in an initiative to promote interest in entrepreneurship. The Delta Regional Authority is partnering with the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute in Georgia, and Mississippi Valley State University. Chris Masingill, with DRA, says they want talented students to stay in Mississippi and help grow the economy.
"To expose young people, particularly young people of color about the opportunity and giving them the know how and the resources and the mentoring and programming to say you can be an entrepreneur, you can own your own businesses," said Masingill.
DRA's coverage area includes the Delta regions in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee. Any HBCUs in those areas are eligible to apply to participate. Mississippi Valley State University Professor Curressia Brown is coordinating the year long project.
"What we want to do is say deliberately and purposefully lets begin to cultivate in our students a mindset that says regardless of my major, I can be an entrepreneur," said Brown.
Chris Masingill with the Delta Regional Authority says students will learn what it takes to operate a successful business from getting affordable loans to managing the day to day operations. HBCUs have until May 30, to apply. For the six chosen, workshops will be held on the university campuses along with bootcamps at the entrepreneurial institute. The year will culminate with students competing against each other for the best business idea.