Hope Enterprise Corporation is teaming up with several municiapalities and nine historically Black colleges and universities to form the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative. The new initiative will provide access to financing, business education classes, and business support services, leveraging support from the private, public and nonprofit sectors. This comprehensive support focuses on stabilizing and strengthening small businesses, and bolstering employment in a region characterized by deep, entrenched poverty and racial disparities.
HOPE is a family of development organizations dedicated to strengthening communities, building assets and improving lives in the Mississippi Delta and other economically distressed parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Comprised of a regional credit union (Hope Credit Union), loan fund (Hope Enterprise Corporation) and policy center (Hope Policy Institute), HOPE has provided financial services, leveraged private and public resources, and shaped policies that have benefited more than 1 million residents in one of the nation’s most persistently poor regions.
Given their embeddedness in these communities, HBCUs are uniquely positioned to promote economic mobility. Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative HBCUs will provide technical assistance, business support, and procurement opportunities to local small businesses. Participating HBCUs are Alabama State University, Miles College, Philander Smith College, Southern University and A&M College, Xavier University, Dillard University, Jackson State University, Tougaloo College, and LeMoyne-Owen College.
“One of the central roles played by Xavier as an anchor institution in communities of color is serving as a supporter and incubator for Black business,” said Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University of Louisiana. “We look forward to expanding our impact for the next generation of entrepreneurs through this historic partnership.”
Projections call for the collaborative to serve 4,000-5,000 businesses and support 30,000 employees and their family members.