- Sixty students from 15 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) competed
- Multi-platinum artist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Big Sean; and actor and entertainer Terrence J shared personal experiences with students, commitment to program
- Program enables Ally, TMCF and The Sean Anderson Foundation to promote economic mobility and support the development of future leaders
The team from Morehouse College took top honors in this year's Moguls in the Making entrepreneurial pitch competition, where 60 students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) developed innovative and impactful solutions to address economic mobility challenges using vital business skills.
The fourth annual competition, which ran from Sept. 15-18, was hosted by Ally (NYSE: ALLY) in collaboration with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the largest organization exclusively representing the Black College community, with special appearances by multi-platinum artist, entrepreneur and philanthropist Big Sean and actor, entertainer and HBCU alumnus Terrence J.
"Moguls in the Making is an investment Ally is making in advancing financial and social inclusion," said Ally Financial CEO Jeffrey J. Brown. "Not only do programs like this provide access and opportunities for HBCU students to learn core business and entrepreneurial skills, but it also helps build early talent pipelines with bright, passionate and creative individuals who will be our future leaders. Together with long-time partner TMCF and all of the participating HBCUs, we are breaking down barriers in education and taking tangible steps to boost economic mobility for diverse communities all over the country."
Sixty students – 15 teams with four students each – were asked to develop an idea for how to support economic mobility in Charlotte, one of Ally's hometown markets, and then create a business plan to put those ideas into action. Each team was given 10 minutes to present their concept to a panel of judges, who awarded prizes to the top three teams based on the pitch. Members of those top teams each received a scholarship for the 2023 school year, guaranteed offers of a paid internships at Ally for Summer 2023, and other prizes to support their education.
The Morehouse team's winning idea, called HOPE Project (Home/Ownership/Property/Education), utilizes a new property ownership solution the students deemed "ACLO" Properties (Appreciation Capped Lease-to-Own Properties) that allows low-income renters to become homeowners and build equity without being exposed to the inflationary and deflationary housing market. Corporate, non-profit, and governmental entities work together to create and facilitate a program that supports a 5-year plan for rental tenants to work toward property ownership while improving their long-term financial outlook and generational wealth.
- Amari Torrance, junior economics major from Redford, Mich.
- Travis Sherman, senior software engineering from Decatur, Ga.
- Kasai Rogers, junior economics major from Washington D.C.
- Zion Melson, sophomore business administration major from Alpharetta, Ga.
Morgan State University came in second place, winning $10,000 scholarships for each student, and Southern University-Baton Rouge, placed third, earning $5,000 scholarships for each student. All remaining students who competed received a $1,000 scholarship for their participation.
"Moguls in the Making is an important initiative that is helping to bridge the racial wealth gap and support high achieving students by creating lucrative career opportunities," said Dr. Harry L. Williams, President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. "Each year, these amazing students work together to solve a real-world challenge. They never cease to impress us with their ingenuity and initiative. We're proud to once again be part of this program, amplifying incredible, untapped talent."
Since the program's inception in 2019, Ally has employed 36 of the Moguls participants as interns and hired 12 of them as full-time employees across a variety of functions, including IT, marketing, product design and corporate services.
Inspiration from Real-Life Moguls
The 2022 class of Moguls were treated to several surprise appearances from two real-life moguls who followed their passions and built their names the entertainment industry. Both are admired for their creativity, philanthropic giving and business savvy.
Musician, philanthropist and entrepreneur Big Sean was instrumental in the launch of the program in 2019 and returned this year to lend his support and some advice to students on the final day of competition.
"After being involved with the development and launch of Moguls in the Making four years ago, I'm grateful that we're bringing it back and continuing to give HBCU students the opportunity to see how their business ideas can come to life," said Big Sean. "I'm so proud of the work TMCF, Ally and the Sean Anderson Foundation have done to empower Black students and the next generation of leaders."
As a 2004 NC A&T State University graduate, Terrence J shared how his experience on A&T's campus in Greensboro shaped his career as an actor and entertainer while also showing him what could be possible after graduation.
"As the product of an HBCU, I know the importance of programs like Moguls in the Making for diverse communities," said Terrence J, also an ambassador with TMCF. "I could not pass up the opportunity to once again work with Ally and TMCF to elevate Black students from all backgrounds and encourage them to pursue their dreams."
About the Competition
This year, students hailed from Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fisk University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, NC A&T State University, Southern University at Baton Rouge, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University and Virginia State University.
Ally mentors and team coaches, including past Moguls in the Making participants and HBCU alumni, worked with the students to help formulate business plans to support economic mobility. Prominent Charlotte-area leaders gave their time to advise the students during the competition, acting as valued resources in their respective industries.
"I want to thank the members of the Charlotte business community for their support of Moguls and for making the event a success," Brown said. "Their participation demonstrates the impact that this program and others supporting economic mobility can have in our communities."
The event culminated Sunday, Sept. 18 with the teams presenting their business plans to a panel of judges consisting of Ally Chief Marketing and PR Officer Andrea Brimmer; Ally Chief Human Resources Officer Kathie Patterson; Ally Chief Information, Data & Digital Officer Sathish Muthukrishnan; Laurel Street President and CEO Dionne Nelson; and former pro football player and NASCAR enthusiast Bernard Pollard.
The entire Moguls in the Making weekend experience was documented by Black-owned media company, Revolt, to create a four-part series highlighting the students, leaders, executives, and celebrity guests involved in the program. The series will air this October across Revolt's TV and Digital suite of platforms. Teaming up with collaborators like Revolt further Ally's commitment to driving growth and engagement with minority owned media companies.
Learn more about the program at https://www.ally.com/go/moguls/.