Wilberforce University, U.S. Small Business Association cultivate new entrepreneurs
Wilberforce University is teaming with the U.S. Small Business Administration to initiate a new program that will teach any student how to start their own business.
“Entrepreneurship is the economic engine that drives communities, and certainly for African American communities,” University President Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard said.
He also said African American have a long history of running their own businesses but often they’ve been disadvantaged.
“We have not had access to the capital, to the skill development, and to the services that make for successful long term entrepreneurs," Pinkar explained.
The program connects students with SBA staff from the Columbus office as well as mentors —teaching them various skills including — crafting an effective business plan, identifying low-interest funding and how to connect with potential clients.
To help level the playing field for his students — Friday, Pinkard sat down with Geri Sanchez Aglipay–she’s the SBA Regional Administrator. Together, they signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum, enabling Wilberforce University students to participate in a new SBA initiative, Pathways to Entrepreneurship.
It will begin in the fall semester, August 2023.
Aglipay says integrating ‘real-life’ business strategies into college curriculum is a game changer for the university's students as well as for the surrounding community.
“If you do it properly and incorporate with the help of SBA, you can actually generate up to 40-percent more income as a self employed, incorporated entrepreneur. But also re-investment back into the community as well,” Aglipay explained.
Wilberforce Senior Ambrea Hightower runs several ventures including 44 Stars, an Instagram based streetwear company. It specializes in high fashion sweat suits.
“I enjoy being an entrepreneur because I like being on my own time. I’m responsible for building a team versus me trying to fit into a team,” Hightower said. “And I prosper, I do well everytime I come into something new.”
Ohio has about 997,000 small businesses — employing more than two-million workers.