Tennis powerhouse Serena Williams and actor Michael B. Jordan have individually led impactful initiatives that sit at the intersection of sports, entertainment and activism, and now the two stars are joining forces to empower the next generation of HBCU innovators. According to AfroTech, Williams and Jordan have teamed up with the venture capital firm MaC VC for the creation of a project designed to support students and alumni at historically Black colleges and universities who are charting paths in entrepreneurship.
Jordan, Williams and the seed-stage VC company are organizing a pitch competition for HBCU scholars who have or aspire to launch their own ventures. Participants will have the opportunity to submit their business plans to investors for the chance to win a $1 million investment from Williams’ Serena Ventures and MaC VC. The winners of the competition will be announced on December 18 during the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic Basketball Showcase Finals; a competition that Jordan founded in an effort to increase the visibility of HBCU teams within the realm of sports. A collective of venture capital firms including Harlem Capital and Thirty Five Ventures will serve as advisors.
Michael Palank, who serves as General Partner at MaC VC, says it’s imperative that the disparities surrounding access to venture capital are addressed and it starts with supporting underrepresented entrepreneurial talent. “At MaC we like to say that talent is ubiquitous but access to opportunity is not,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “Two of our partners are HBCU alumni and we could not be more excited to uncover and support the amazing entrepreneurial talent we know is thriving at these universities.” Alison Stillman, the General Partner at Serena Ventures, added HBCUs “have long been centers of entrepreneurial excellence.”
Initiatives like the pitch competition being led by Jordan, Williams and MaC VC are needed. The Harvard Business Review reported Black founders receive less than 1 percent of venture capital.
Blackburn Takeover: Photos Of Howard University Students Protesting Horrifying Living Conditions
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More mold photos a student at @HowardU sent me this morning of her dorm in the Quad. @fox5dc #BlackburnTakeover— Jacqueline Matter (@JMatter_TV) October 21, 2021
I reached out to @VP office to see if she has any comment on her alma mater’s living conditions. I also reached out to HU for a finance report but haven’t heard back pic.twitter.com/kP3i2xdICR
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NEW: Getting ready to go live at 10pm and another student walks by and asks us if we’re reporting on the mold problems at @HowardU - she then sends me these photos from a mold-covered picture frame in her dorm at the Quadrangle. @fox5dc #BlackburnTakeover pic.twitter.com/nmbOJLuL4E— Jacqueline Matter (@JMatter_TV) October 21, 2021
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After seeing all the post from #BlackburnTakeover, I have to contextualize the issues students have had at Howard because it is truly inhumane what undergraduates go through. This thread will go the history of civil disobedience and issues with the living conditions at Howard 1/ pic.twitter.com/vxbtzOZ1Bt— 🦂 (@scorptini) October 13, 2021
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For far too long the Admin at Howard has continued to ignore the cries and issues that the students have faced: mold/ mushrooms growing in their dorms, lack or support and responses from admin, no building for classes or tuition assistance. #BlackburnTakeover pic.twitter.com/6ROudKKDly— 𝙉𝙤𝙩 𝙋𝙖𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 ✋🏾 (@incognitovirgo4) October 13, 2021
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The students at @HowardU have always been changemakers and have made history as a result. I support their struggle for safe, dignified housing. It's the same struggle Black families face against gentrification all over DC. Power concedes nothing without demand. #BlackburnTakeover pic.twitter.com/NOTNjv0i7v— Janeese Lewis George (@Janeese4DC) October 19, 2021
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Day 5 of the #BlackburnTakeover at #HowardUniversity. Students from the School of Social Work set up a tent and have been out here supporting our Baby Bison. As social workers in-training, we must advocate for populations who have been neglected from our place of access. pic.twitter.com/MjskqjvHbf— Zekiiyah J. (@Zekiiyah_) October 16, 2021
Serena Williams And Michael B. Jordan Team Up With VC Firm To Lead HBCU Entrepreneurship Initiative was originally published on newsone.com