NEWS: Six HBCUs to expand entrepreneurship programming for minority students

July 18, 2016

ITTA BENA, Miss. – Six Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Delta region have been selected to advance entrepreneurship among their students and grow the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through the inaugural HBCU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Initiative, the Delta Regional Authority announced today.

The Initiative will help these institutions expand programming opportunities and support services for their student populations engaging HBCU leaders, community leaders, and student entrepreneurs in a series of activities that support the growth of minority-owned businesses on college campuses in the Delta region.

“Entrepreneurship is one of the strongest economic opportunities for young people in our region, and this initiative is our way of helping our region’s HBCUs invest in the entrepreneurial growth of their students and thus the Delta communities around them,” said Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the DRA.

The following schools have been selected to participate through a competitive application process:

  • Grambling State University | Grambling, LA 
  • Mississippi Valley State University | Itta Bena, MS
  • Philander Smith College | Little Rock, AR
  • Rust College | Holly Springs, MS 
  • Southern University | Baton Rouge, LA
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff | Pine Bluff, AR

The selected schools will receive up to $24,000 in support services to host a two-day technical assistance and rapid acceleration workshop to teach aspiring and advanced student entrepreneurs about the skills and resources needed to launch and scale their businesses.

Upon completion of the two-day session, student entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas for a chance to be selected to represent their schools and the region at Founders Weekend on the AEI campus in Lithonia, Georgia. Winning entrepreneurs on each campus will receive pitch practice, mentorship with successful minority entrepreneurs, business model development, and other technical assistance leading up to the Founders Weekend activities.

About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. Learn more at


Spencer Lucker
(202) 744-3558