The participating students expressed appreciation in Solutionist Accelerator and its social entrepreneurship programming.
“This program is invaluable to HBCU students and is innovative in itself with providing us the opportunity to interact with students and professors from other campuses,” Seeney said. “I also think this program allowed us to develop the holistic view necessary for social innovation.”
The AUC showcase judges included Brennan DuBose, portfolio manager at Echoing Green; Atiba Mbiwan, interim executive director at the Zeist Foundation; and Dr. Nicole Taylor, associate professor at Spelman College. The North Carolina A&T State showcase judges included Robert China, senior vice president at Fortress Investment Group, Echoing Green board member, and North Carolina A&T alumnus; Rachel D. Latimore, portfolio manager at Echoing Green; and Wilson Lester, executive director at Piedmont Business Capital. Judges for the Morgan State showcase included LaShauna Jones, founder of Sporty Dog and president at Morgan State Entrepreneurship Alumni Chapter at Morgan State University Alumni Association (MSUAA); Brittany Young, founder of B-360 and 2018 Echoing Green Fellow; Omar Muhammad, director of Morgan State Univeristy’s Entrepreneurial Development and Assistance Center (EDAC); and Cheryl L. Dorsey, president of Echoing Green.
Perspectives from the Field
Following the showcases, students heard from HBCU alumni and leaders in the social impact and philanthropic spaces. Derick Pearson, co-founder of Code Fever and Black Tech Week, 2017 Echoing Green Fellow, and Morehouse College alumnus, discussed his work during a fireside chat with Tiffany Thompson, Solutionist Accelerator consultant at Echoing Green. Pearson shared how his experience at Morehouse affected his entrepreneurial trajectory and why he chose to attend Morehouse for its commitment to justice and service. He encouraged the students to retain and leverage the communities and collective power they built at their HBCUs.
Dorsey hosted a fireside chat with Alma Roberts, interim director of community health for Kaiser Permanente and Morgan State University alumna, after the North Carolina A&T showcase. Roberts encouraged the students to build values-aligned partnerships that will fuel their success and to continue to keep the communities they are serving at the center of decision-making.
Building an Inclusive Entrepreneurship Movement
Solutionist Accelerator’s focus on developing students’ leadership and understanding of social innovation, sparking their ideas for change, and fueling their commitment to impact, speaks to Echoing Green’s long-standing work of equipping emerging leaders with the supportive ecosystem they need to build an equitable and sustainable world.
“After 30 years of supporting leaders around the globe, Echoing Green knows that the people closest to the problem are often closest to the solution,” Dorsey said. “That’s why we are committed to supporting these impressive young leaders in realizing their visions for change. We are inspired by their passion for tackling problems in a fundamentally new way and by their ability to mobilize others to support their cause.”
We are immensely grateful to the Fund II Foundation’s support of this pilot program, which allowed Echoing Green to further its efforts to build an inclusive entrepreneurship movement focused on unleashing a more diverse set of innovators and founders to drive high-impact organizations and businesses.