ATLANTA— A new office of the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (UGA SBDC) is coming to the campus of Morehouse College. The project, led by UGA and the Morehouse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, will support economic growth in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood, as well as the metro area.
As the predominant small business outreach organization in Georgia, the SBDC, a state and federally-funded program, provides business owners and prospective entrepreneurs with consulting advice and continuing education classes at its 17 current locations statewide. The new UGA SBDC office at Morehouse will open this summer and begin serving small business leaders, prospective owners, and student entrepreneurs, both in person and online. The outreach could bring new jobs to the city, which has seen unemployment rise sharply during the global pandemic. Morehouse is currently seeking an office director for the new SBDC site.
Founded in 1867, Morehouse is the nation’s only historically black college focused on educating men. The liberal arts college has a nationally-acclaimed business program and is the top feeder school for black men entering Harvard Business School. Morehouse is also the top producer of Rhodes Scholars among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), with five Morehouse Men receiving the honor. The college educates 2,200 students.
“Morehouse is very excited about this partnership with the UGA SDBC. Having the UGA SBDC at Morehouse allows us to expand on the work we are already doing with building businesses of color in our communities,” said Dr. Tiffany Bussey, director of the Morehouse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. “We have been collaborating with the UGA SBDC since 2018 on different program and Initiatives. However, this new partnership brings incredible resources for students, faculty, alumni and the Southwest community to foster their business ideas and support the growth of small business in metro Atlanta.”
As the national epicenter for thought leadership on civil rights, Morehouse is committed to helping the nation to address the inequities caused by institutional racism, which have created disparities in income, employment, health, housing, and educational opportunities for people of African descent. The new UGA SBDC office aligns with Morehouse’s efforts to narrow the income gap for black households, which have the nation’s lowest median net worth, according to the U.S. Census.
The Morehouse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center and the UGA SBDC discussed opening an office on campus last fall. An open house was scheduled for late March 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SBDC’s Morehouse office will open during a time of crisis for blacks in America. The May 2020 U.S. jobs report shows that while the nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 13.3% and also declined for whites, the unemployment rose to 16.8% for the black population. National data also shows that blacks are disproportionately suffering from COVID-19 infections at a higher rate than any other group due to disparities in health care and are more likely to lose their jobs in the fallout. An international anti-racism movement led by Black Lives Matter is bringing global attention to the suffering of black families in the United States caused by incidents of police brutality and discriminatory practices of other institutions.
MIEC is dedicated to improving access to training and capital for minority business owners and future entrepreneurs across the metro Atlanta area. Through industry and higher education collaborations within the tech, banking, and academic fields, MIEC has successfully helped to increase the number of new businesses in Southwest Atlanta and provided support services to existing small and minority businesses. These collaborations engage thought leaders and experts at Morehouse College, local organizations that provide community-focused services, and student leaders at the college interested in entrepreneurship and consulting.
The UGA SBDC has been serving, growing, and strengthening Georgia’s business community for more than 40 years. By offering a network of services, many at no direct cost, including one-on-one consulting, small business training courses, and applied research, the UGA SBDC has played a critical role enhancing the economic vitality of the state. The UGA SBDC strives to make Georgia one of the best places to do business.
“We are appreciative that the very successful Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at Morehouse College has agreed to partner with the UGA SBDC. The resources and experiences they bring will help the UGA SBDC meet the growing demand for our services in Metro Atlanta,” said Allan Adams, UGA SBDC State Director. “Our two institutions’ commitment to growing Georgia businesses is well established, and this collaboration will help us both reach smaller business owners and potential entrepreneurs with the educational and technical assistance they need to prosper.”
About Morehouse College
Morehouse College is the only historically black college focused on educating men. Founded in 1867, the College is the nation’s top producer of black men who go on to receive doctorates. Morehouse is also the top producer of Rhodes Scholars among HBCUs with five Morehouse Men receiving the honor. The College was recently named on the list of U.S. institutions that produced the most 2019-20 Fulbright Scholars, the nation's flagship international educational exchange program. Prominent alumni include: Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General; Shelton “Spike” Lee, award-winning American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta; and Jeh Johnson, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. Morehouse currently has more than 17,000 alumni in 14 countries. For more information visit https://morehouse.edu.
Chartered by the state of Georgia in 1785, the University of Georgia is the birthplace of public higher education in America — launching our nation’s great tradition of world-class public education. What began as a commitment to inspire the next generation grows stronger today through global research, hands-on learning and extensive outreach. A top value in public higher education and research, the University of Georgia tackles some of the world’s grand challenges, from combating infectious disease and creating a dependable food supply to advancing economic growth and strengthening cyber and global security. The University of Georgia has been in the top 20 public universities in overall licensing revenue for 14 consecutive years, ranking No. 12 among public universities and No. 31 overall in the most recent ranking from AUTM. With its comprehensive reach, the university’s 17 colleges and schools enroll more than 37,000 students and have produced over 315,000 alumni living worldwide. Located in the Classic City of Athens, approximately an hour northeast of Atlanta, the university thrives in a community that combines a culture-rich college town with a strong economic center. The campus is home to nearly 800 registered student and service organizations.