Photo Caption: Visa executives, including Chief Diversity Officer Michelle Gethers and President of Visa Foundation Graham Macmillan, visited the CBE along with Morehouse and Spelman Presidents David A. Thomas and Helene Gayle as well as Black Economic Alliance representatives Samantha Tweedy and Vicki Palmer.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – (November 17, 2022) – The Black Economic Alliance (BEA) Foundation – a national nonprofit organization working with private, public, and social sector leaders to advance work, wages, and wealth for Black Americans – announced a grant partnership today with Visa Foundation to support the development of the Center for Black Entrepreneurship (CBE) housed at Spelman and Morehouse Colleges. This $5 million commitment will support the CBE’s mission to eliminate access barriers between Black entrepreneurs, professional investors, and business builders by leveraging education, mentorship, access to capital, and opportunity.
A collaboration among the BEA Foundation, Spelman College, and Morehouse College, the CBE aims to grow the pipeline of Black entrepreneurs and connect them to investment opportunities. Visa Foundation’s commitment will support the development of an entrepreneurship program, which includes hiring faculty and building curricula for students at Spelman College and Morehouse College, as well as making online upskilling courses globally accessible.
“We are grateful to the Visa Foundation for their meaningful investment in the Center for Black Entrepreneurship,” said Samantha Tweedy, President of the Black Economic Alliance Foundation. “Their support will help us expand the training the CBE is providing to the next generation of Black innovators and build an ecosystem that connects Black entrepreneurs to capital.”
“To build the future generation of entrepreneurs and small business owners, investing early is best,” said Michelle Gethers, Chief Diversity Officer and Head of Corporate Responsibility, Visa Inc. and Vice Chair of Visa Foundation’s Board. “Visa Foundation is honored to support the Center for Black Entrepreneurship to uplift future generations of Black entrepreneurs who are attending college in Atlanta. This partnership helps ensure a more diverse and inclusive future for everyone, everywhere.”
“We appreciate Visa Foundation’s generous investment in the mission of the Center for Black Entrepreneurship,” said Helene Gayle, MD, MPH, President of Spelman College. “The CBE will provide invaluable resources for our students interested in entrepreneurship by providing them with the opportunity to build the skills and networks necessary to thrive as future business leaders and founders. This is especially important since Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs.”
“Morehouse College is proud to partner with incredible organizations like the Visa Foundation to bring the Center for Black Entrepreneurship to life,” said David A. Thomas, Ph.D., President of Morehouse College. “Visa’s generous grant will help us further the Center for Black Entrepreneurship’s work of addressing the historic and systemic challenges Black entrepreneurs traditionally face in accessing capital and peer networks.”
Through academic training, access to mentors, and exposure to the program’s robust network of business leaders and investors, CBE students will be supported in navigating the structural challenges Black entrepreneurs traditionally face when setting out to launch and sustain a business. By increasing investment in Black-founded companies, the CBE will ultimately contribute to closing the investment gap.
In addition to Visa Foundation’s $5 million grant, Visa Inc.’s Atlanta employees will be able to provide CBE with pro bono volunteering and other forms of in-kind support. This extension of CBE and Visa’s partnership builds upon Visa’s commitment to uplifting the Atlanta community by creating new opportunities for employee to support local entrepreneurs, attend stakeholder events, and strengthen the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem.
For more information on the Black Economic Alliance Foundation log on to www.foundation.blackeconomicalliance.org
For more information on Morehouse College log on here: https://morehouse.edu.
For more information on Spelman College visit www.spelman.edu.