Today, the Howard University & PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship kicked off, “Black Commerce: The Future of Entrepreneurship,” an innovative experience designed for Black entrepreneurs and their supporters. The inaugural sold-out conference is taking place at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Washington, DC.

The event will feature business leaders like Richard Bynum, Executive Vice-President and Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer at PNC, HBCU presidents, serial entrepreneurs, representatives and celebrity entrepreneurs like actor Lamman Rucker (Greenleaf, Queen Sugar, Meet the Browns) and Camille McDonald of America’s Next Top Model. The conference will empower the current and next generation of business owners with resources, information, tools, skills, and opportunities to launch and scale their operations locally, nationally, and worldwide.

The multi-day conference welcomes Black entrepreneurs, investors, scholars, families, educational institutions, local and federal government officials, corporations, and nonprofits to connect and collaborate on strategies to grow the impact of Black-owned businesses. The conference will include fireside chats, workshops, panel discussions, a resource fair, a fashion show, and an awards gala that all serve to inspire, encourage, empower and support Black entrepreneurs across the country.

Panels, workshops, and activities will follow three tracks of content:

  1. Elevating Emerging Entrepreneurs: Workshops and activities that provide small-business owners with resources, skill development, and industry-specific knowledge to help entrepreneurs looking to scale or grow their business ventures
  2. Empowering the Ecosystem: Discussions uniting research and practice, aimed toward building robust networks to support Black entrepreneurs.
  3. Investing & Impact: Information on leveraging and learning strategies to fund, finance and grow Black-owned businesses as well as Black communities.

The Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship was established in 2021 through a five-year, $16.8 million grant from the PNC Foundation as a part of PNC’s $88 billion Community Benefits Plan focused on bolstering economic opportunity for low and moderate-income (LMI) individuals, communities and people of color. The mission of the center is to support expanded opportunities for Black entrepreneurship with educational leadership and capacity building resources and programs nationwide, sharing resources through four regional hub schools and their network of more than 100 HBCUs nationwide.

“The conference is an opportunity to help Black entrepreneurs shape their futures with education and resources that will help them grow and scale their enterprises.,” said Bynum. “Black-owned businesses are critical to thriving communities, and strategic efforts like these are critical steps in breaking down the obstacles they face so that they can fairly compete, succeed and build generational wealth.”

The Howard University and PNC National Center of Entrepreneurship is an umbrella organization for regional hubs located at Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, Morgan State University and Texas Southern University.

For more information about the conference or organization, visit the HUxPNC website here.

This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder and editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Dr. Burton also serves as Southern Regional Director for the HUxPNC National Center of Entrepreneurship. The Southern Regional Hub is located at Clark Atlanta University.

Follow Nsenga on IG or FB @TheBurtonWire.

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