Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

“The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MDBA) just announced new grant awards of almost $2 million to four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).” The MBDA is a government organization specifically created to support and promote the growth and competitiveness of the United States’ minority-owned businesses.

The recent grants focused on STEM related programs which, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “is expected to grow to more than 9 million employees between 2012 and 2022.

In June, 2018, “the MBDA invited HBCUs to suggest projects that will achieve one or more of the following objectives”:

  1. Increase their ability to compete for and receive federal research and development funds;
  2. Establish partnerships with federal laboratories and other technology resources; increase STEM entrepreneurship; and
  3. Compete for federal contracts.

The following HBCU’s were awarded funding from the MBDA after showing their commitment to the above objectives:

  1. Clark Atlanta University ($499,497) to develop a STEM entrepreneurship curriculum that increases student interest in the innovation economy at three Atlanta University Center Consortium campuses.
  2. Howard University ($359,891) to design a technical support model for 11 HBCUs in the mid-Atlantic region to compete for Federal research and development funds and leverage partnerships with Federal laboratories
  3. South Carolina State University ($404,992) to launch regional training sessions for HBCUs to compete for Federal research and development funds.
  4. Tougaloo College ($695,412) to establish a partnership among multiple HBCUs, private companies, federal labs, and research institutions to increase capacity for HBCUs to participate in federal research and contracting opportunities.

The awards were part of the 2018 MBDA initiative where more “than $13 million was awarded for 13 projects focused on Department of Commerce and MBDA priorities from resources that increase disaster preparedness and relief to programs that increase access to capital.”