The total $2 million donation from PNC Bank was awarded to five HBCUs across North Carolina over the course of three years
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Students at Johnson C. Smith University are getting some extra support to pursue their self-starting businesses all thanks to a generous donation.
PNC Bank is awarding more than $2 million to five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in North Carolina including Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, North Carolina Central University, and Winston-Salem State University.
Leaders at JCSU say their specific reward of $375,000 will go towards students selected as PNC Fellows who will have the opportunity to use the money to create or continue building their own business.
“JCSU students are preparing for that competition,” Interim Dean Matthew DeForrest of JCSU College of Arts and Letters said. “It’s not just the local Charlotte competition. It’s’ certainly not just the competition along the Beatties Ford corridor. It’s national and international.”
And for students like sophomore Brandi Barron, the opportunity could be the best support for success.
“Exit looks better than entry sometimes for entrepreneurs especially Black entrepreneurs so being able to have the network and the people behind you,” Barron said.
Those selected as PNC Fellows will also have the opportunity to access PNC employees as mentors too.
“This program I believe will help students see it through,” Barron said.
Just like the successful Black business owners of the Day and Night Exotic Cereal Bar in Uptown Charlotte. Within their first year of business, they’ve seen major success.
“There’s so many businesses booming right now and I love it and I feel like I’m a part of that so I want to keep that going,” co-owner Greg Robinson said.
In a recent study, Charlotte ranked as one of the top 20 cities for Black-owned businesses.
The hope is that with Black entrepreneurial support through donations like the PNC Foundation even more success can come to future Black business owners.
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