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JCSU Receives $375,000 from PNC Foundation for Entrepreneurship Hub

February 1, 2022 / Charlotte, N.C. – Johnson C. Smith University today received a $375,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to enhance entrepreneurship education. JCSU was one of five Historically Black Colleges and Universities to receive support from PNC Foundation which announced today more than $2 million in grants to five HBCUs in North Carolina to establish the PNC North Carolina HBCU Initiative. 

The initiative, which was announced in a joint virtual press conference with the five institutions, is an effort to enrich the future of entrepreneurship and create workforce opportunities in North Carolina. The five grants will be distributed over a three-year period to help fund the development and delivery of entrepreneurship resources and programming for students. The students will also will have the opportunity to participate in the PNC Pitch Competition, an annual forum where student-entrepreneurs can showcase innovative ideas and demonstrate their marketing skills.

The $375,000 grant will transform entrepreneurship education at JCSU, said President Clarence D. Armbrister. 

“We are so honored to join our fellow North Carolina HBCU institutions in celebrating PNC Foundation’s investment in providing a pathway to advance the futures of our young entrepreneurs,” Armbrister said. “This transformative grant will directly impact students and help them achieve their dreams of creating their own distinct business opportunities as entrepreneurs who are leaders in innovation, industry and their communities. It will also make Johnson C. Smith University a hub for entrepreneurial education and expertise in Charlotte, the nation’s second largest financial center and one of the fastest growing cities in the country.”

PNC understands the importance of supporting HBCUs to strengthen North Carolina’s economy, said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas. 

“At PNC, we recognize how important HBCUs are to our state’s success,” said Andress. “HBCU graduates contribute significantly to the talent pipeline that is fueling North Carolina’s economy, and these institutions are foundational to shaping the workforce North Carolina needs to remain competitive in business.”

JCSU will use the grant to create the PNC Entrepreneurship Hub on campus. The Hub will not only create spaces for students to develop and launch their businesses, but it will also provide them with seed money to begin their endeavors and gain valuable mentoring from PNC employees and local entrepreneurs. 

Armbrister noted the grant from PNC Foundation sends the message that JCSU is providing a high quality, relevant education to highly talented, motivated students. 

“Thank you, PNC, for this strong endorsement of our mission and for your vote of confidence in our students’ capacity for self-driven success that will change their lives, the trajectory of their families and build stronger communities,” said Armbrister. 

In addition to Johnson C. Smith University, the other grant recipients are Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Central University and Winston-Salem State University. 

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