Let’s get this party started! A launch party for new and innovative ideas that create businesses and foster economic development. So where is this launch party? Maybe at an HBCU near you.
Since their inception in the late 1800’s, HBCUs have built their mode of being around the concept of being “teaching institutions”. It was the appropriate mode at that time. The fact that thousands of newly freed slaves seeking to become educated in a rigidly enforced segregated social system made it necessary for Black colleges to focus on teaching. In fact, many HBCUs still exist to part wisdom to many who otherwise would not be able to attend college.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and note that some HBCUs have changed their mode of parting wisdom, others have been slow to change. The change that is necessary is for all HBCUs to become more embracing of technology.
HBCUs are a natural launching pad for technological innovations. These innovations can run the gamut form agricultural science to space science. New innovations shaped and directed towards business development and job creation will allow this country to once again compete on even ground in the global market.
Many predominately white institutions have already begun to create “launching pads” that allow students, faculty members, and citizens of the larger community to create businesses. Using the “incubator” concept, these universities have used their existing resources plus resources from the corporate and non-profit sectors to create an almost perfect starting place for new businesses, especially high-growth technology oriented businesses.
In a world of expanding possibilities, HBCUs can and should be on the cutting edge of this still developing economic revolution. HBCUs will not have to re-invent the wheel. There are a handful of universities who are already involved in the incubator concept. One of the newest and fastest growing university-based incubator is called The Launch Pad Tech Accelerator, which was created by The Launch Pad based on the campus of the University of Miami. Since 2008, The Launch Pad has created more than 80 businesses.
HBCUs should follow their example and create entrepreneurial resource centers that allow for the development and cultivation of this type of accelerator. Students may have to nudge their HBCUs into the 21st century, by pushing and lobbying for innovative changes.
Once there, don’t forget to send out the invitations to the launch party.
Photo credit: Savannah State University