Best HBCUs for Entrepreneurship

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Published on October 12, 2023
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According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses in the U.S. have created 66% of new jobs available over the past 25 years. The State of Black Entrepreneurship in America reported that Black-owned companies generated over $165 billion in revenue and provided upwards of 1 million jobs. Black entrepreneurs who build new small businesses can help provide jobs, mentor aspiring leaders, and remove barriers to wealth.

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) play an important role in equipping new Black entrepreneurs to succeed in business. Explore the role of HBCUs in entrepreneurship and discover the best programs for aspiring entrepreneurs in the guide below.

Why Attend an HBCU for Entrepreneurship?

Studying entrepreneurship at an HBCU can give you access to the training, networks, and partnerships that lead to a successful business launch. The schools listed below have invested heavily in training the next generation of Black entrepreneurs.

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    HBCUs are promoting entrepreneurship education

    The National Center for Education Statistics reports that HBCUs awarded 48,200 degrees in 2019 — 74% of them to Black students. And these schools are heavily promoting entrepreneurship education and graduating innovative leaders. For example, in 2018, half of Howard University's business school graduates founded their own initiatives, according to Bloomberg.
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    HBCUs focus on shrinking the racial wealth gap

    Entrepreneurship can be an effective wealth-building tool, but failed business ventures have an outsized effect on Black entrepreneurs, according to a Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy study. Therefore, ensuring that historically excluded entrepreneurs are successful is key to financial flourishing. To help ensure that Black entrepreneurs build successful enterprises, HBCUs are adding academic programs and research centers in entrepreneurship.
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    HBCUs offer diversity in contacts

    Collaboration across identities helps promote a culture of learning and cooperation. HBCUs partner with organizations and corporations that are intentionally seeking to broaden their perspectives. Students have the opportunity to establish successful business relationships through these partnerships. HBCUs also foster deep roots within the Black community, giving students access to its executives, investors, and leaders.

Featured Online Entrepreneurship Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

2023 Best HBCUs for Entrepreneurship

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Bowie State University serves 6,275 undergraduate and graduate students across 66 academic programs. Known as Maryland’s first historically Black public university, the institution was also the first HBCU in Maryland to launch a small business incubator. Called the Entrepreneurship Innovation Center, this program combines research with experiential learning. The EIC is housed in the Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community, which is home to 557 students and includes the Bowie Business Innovation Center, the Entrepreneurship Academy, and, of course, classrooms.

Bowie State University offers a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship and small business management. Students take 48 general business credits and 26 entrepreneurship credits. Courses include electronic commerce, managing the venture financing process, business plan development, and a small business practicum.

Bowie State University hosted the first annual HBCU Entrepreneurship Conference in 2021 and has continued to do so each year during the last week of September, which is regarded as National HBCU Week.

Langston University, Oklahoma's only HBCU, was established in 1887 and is located in Langston, Oklahoma. It maintains campuses in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, serving more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The school also has a 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, and 70% of its enrollees are first-generation college students.

Business students can concentrate on one of several specialty areas, including entrepreneurship. This specialization requires 15 credits, including courses in marketing management and financing new ventures. Langston's School of Business holds national accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

LU offers a master of entrepreneurial studies, with a business and a nonbusiness track. The program is housed in the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Research with the goal of preparing competent and business-educated leaders. Additionally, the Small Business Development Center, which is one of few minority specialty centers in the region, serves three neighboring counties, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne. Management assistance is provided to existing and potential business owners.

Founded in 1875, Alabama A&M University sits on a hill just outside downtown Huntsville, serving 6,100 students in 60 academic programs. The school is the largest HBCU in the state of Alabama. It also made our list of best HBCUs for entrepreneurship since it offers both a major and a minor in the discipline. The program includes courses on new venture funding and experiential learning opportunities in entrepreneurship.

Alabama A&M University's Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Development provides education and opportunities to assist underrepresented communities in establishing businesses. Additionally, the entrepreneurship program is part of NASA's Technology Transfer University Program. Learners work in teams to enhance commercialization opportunities for technology in NASA's patent portfolio.

Morgan State University, a Maryland-based public institution, enrolls more than 9,100 students in 140-plus academic programs. About 68% of the school's students are Black, and 69% are 22 or younger. Morgan State's student body is 62% women.

The school's BS in entrepreneurship requires students to complete 48 credits in business and supporting courses and 30 credits in entrepreneurship. Courses include customer identification and validation and startup and business plan development. Students can also choose an entrepreneurship minor, which requires learners to complete just 15 credits. This school made our list because of its commitment to student success and international footprint.

The Morgan State University Entrepreneurial Development Assistance Center educates and provides resources to the community regarding how to start a business. Workshops, training, and mentoring are offered, serving roughly 1,000 individuals each year.

Founded by Saint Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, Xavier University of Louisiana enrolls more than 3,400 graduate and undergraduate students. About 80% of its enrollment is Black, and 8% is Catholic.

Xavier University offers both a minor and a certificate in entrepreneurship. The minor requires 18 credits, including principles of marketing and organization and operation of a small business. The certificate calls for 16 credits, which students can complete in 6-9 months. The school's 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio ensures learners get a personalized experience. The Entrepreneurship Institute strives to prepare students to be global leaders and provides networking opportunities, coaching, and mentorship.

Located in Jackson, Mississippi, Jackson State University offers more than 90 academic programs, including a BBA in entrepreneurship. In this program, students take courses such as venture creation, business statistics, and urban, social, and nonprofit e-ventures, along with a hands-on internship.

In 2014, Jackson State enrolled 11 first-year students in its entrepreneurship program. Of these, about 36% graduated within six years. The school made our best-of list because of its 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and its emphasis on interdisciplinary research.

JSU’s Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development strives to educate the community on establishing successful businesses. It collaborates with business, education, and research partners in order to address some of society's most pressing problems

Empowering Entrepreneurship Beyond the Classroom

Not every HBCU offers a major or minor in entrepreneurship. However, students on all HBCU campuses can access programs that empower aspiring entrepreneurs. They can visit entrepreneurship and innovation centers on their campuses or participate in programs like the HBCU Founders initiative. Learn more about the following programs:

PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship

Headquartered at Howard University, the National Center for Entrepreneurship empowers Black-owned businesses through capital, research, programming, and other resources. The center operates programs nationwide through four regional HBCU campuses — Howard, Morgan State University, Clark Atlanta University, and Texas Southern University.

Programs include the Black Commerce conference, an education innovation grant, a faculty fellowship, and a scholarship for HBCU student entrepreneurs. The center began through a $16.8 million grant from PNC.

The HBCU Founders Initiative

A partnership among 12 HBCUs, the HBCU Founders Initiative provides an eight-week program for early-stage founders ready to validate their problems and build a minimum viable product.

Participants will engage in weekly cohort sessions along with on-campus activities at one of the partner institutions. The program also provides regular one-on-one access to advisors. Aspiring entrepreneurs not attending one of the participating schools may still apply for the virtual-only program, which convenes in the fall.

Additional Resources for Aspiring Entrepreneurs at HBCUs

Through partnerships, events, and training programs, Black Girl Ventures supports Brown/Black-identifying women entrepreneurs. The organization serves as the East Coast's largest ecosystem for Black and Brown women founders. Located in Atlanta, OHUB owns a suite of businesses dedicated to racial equity. This diverse ecosystem offers masterclasses, talent placement programs, and capital formation assistance. The network connects entrepreneurial ecosystem founders in a system designed to share knowledge and create powerful networks. Members can take advantage of in-person gatherings, challenge programs, virtual courses, and regular summits. The Black Upstart operates a traveling, pop-up school that teaches Black adults how to build wealth and scale their businesses. Students must either plan to start a business or own a business earning less than $50,000 in annual income. The Black Upstart also seeks faculty members. A network of angel investors who train and invest in early-stage founders, Hustle Fun, has injected over $21 million into 50-plus companies. You can join the squad even if you have no investment experience. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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