Charlotte, N.C./April 19, 2023 – JCSU recently celebrated the opening of its eHub powered by PNC, which will provide selected student-entrepreneurs – PNC Fellows – with space that is conducive to developing and launching new businesses. In addition to incubator space, the eHub will equip PNC Fellows with access to technology, seed funding and mentorship to help them launch new businesses or take existing businesses to the next level.
Dr. Lucinda Blue, chair of the Department of Business and Public Leadership, as well as Dr. Matthew DeForrest, interim director of the Edward E. Crutchfield Center for Integrated Studies, worked in tandem with the Office of Institutional Advancement and PNC partners to open the hub.
The eHub, located on the first floor of the James B. Duke Memorial Library, was made possible by a $375,000 multi-year grant from PNC Foundation, as announced in February 2022 as part of the PNC North Carolina HBCU Initiative.
“The support from PNC is a testament to the company’s commitment to empowering HBCUs to bridge the significant equity gaps in entrepreneurship among African Americans,” said Dr. Alphonso O. Ogbeuhi, dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies.
Ogbeuhi said he expects the new eHub to offer enhanced experiential learning in the areas of market research, business plan development, financial analysis and business leadership.
Perhaps most important of all, Ogbeuhi said, is how PNC Foundation’s support reflects a shared commitment to offering resources to aspiring young Black entrepreneurs.
According to a Pew Research Center study, only 3 percent of U.S. businesses were Black- or African American-owned in 2020 – a statistic that underscores the urgent importance of efforts, such as the PNC North Carolina HBCU Initiative, to help build a more equitable entrepreneurial landscape.
The PNC North Carolina HBCU Initiative is designed to help fund the development and delivery of entrepreneurship resources and programming for students at five HBCUs, including JCSU.
“Our sincere hope is that the eHub powered by PNC will not only provide student-entrepreneurs with a physical place to work, but that this resource will help inspire our region’s future business leaders and innovators,” said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas. “All of us at PNC look forward to learning about the ideas and opportunities that will take shape here.”
The eHub will be accessible to PNC Fellows, a rotating cohort of student-entrepreneurs selected by outside judges during an annual pitch competition – the first of which was held today.
The 2023 PNC Fellows are Justin Finley, Eryn Glover, Jayden Petrus and Taylor Proffett-Brooks.
For more information on business-related fields of study at JCSU, visit www.jcsu.edu/academics/undergraduate-program/business-administration.
About PNC Foundation
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through PNC Grow Up Great®, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.