eHub initiative opens door to HBCU entrepreneurs

eHub initiative opens door to HBCU entrepreneurs


Johnson C. Smith University is opening opportunities – and space – for student entrepreneurs.  

The school debuted its eHub, an incubator that gives student entrepreneurs dedicated space to develop and launch new businesses. In addition to incubator space, the eHub, funded by PNC Foundation and located at James B. Duke Memorial Library, will provide select students with fellowships and access to technology, seed funding and mentorship.  

The eHub is funded by a $375,000 grant from PNC Foundation, which was announced last year as part of the PNC North Carolina HBCU Initiative.


According to a Pew Research Center study, only 3% of U.S. businesses were Black-owned in 2020, which underscores the headwinds entrepreneurs of color traditionally face in getting businesses off the ground and sustaining their development.

“The support from PNC is a testament to the company’s commitment to empowering HBCUs to bridge the significant equity gaps in entrepreneurship among African Americans,” said Alphonso Ogbeuhi, dean of JCSU’s College of Business and Professional Studies.

The PNC initiative funds development and access to resources and programming for student entrepreneurs at five North Carolina HBCUs.

“Our sincere hope is that the eHub powered by PNC will not only provide student-entrepreneurs with a physical place to work, but that this resource will help inspire our region’s future business leaders and innovators,” said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas. “All of us at PNC look forward to learning about the ideas and opportunities that will take shape here.”


Ogbeuhi expects the eHub to generate enhanced experiential learning in market research, business plan development, financial analysis and business leadership.  
The eHub will be accessible to PNC Fellows, a rotating cohort of student-entrepreneurs selected by outside judges during an annual pitch competition – the first of which was held last week.

JCSU’s inaugural fellows are Justin Finley, Eryn Glover, Jayden Petrus and Taylor Proffett-Brooks.