Clark Atlanta University (CAU) requests funding from the Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency Broad Agency Announcement MBDA-OBD-2018-2005687. Specifically, our funding requests is responsive to Section B. Program Priorities, letter (h.) under the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Initiative category. The request for funding is aligned to MBDA’s objective to encourage new activities, education, outreach, innovative projects or sponsorships which promote and ensure the inclusion and use of minority enterprises. Given the long-standing cross-registration and co-location among Atlanta University Center component institutions, CAU will serve as the Lead Educational Agency and fiscal agent for the funds to implement a pilot project, STEM Entrepreneurship Initiative that: fosters innovation and more collaboration in STEM technology based programs and opportunities at three Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) campuses (Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College). Our goal is to work strategically with the Atlanta University Center Consortium Inc. (a nonprofit serving all AUCC campuses through strategic planning, program development, and implementation) office, to build a more robust STEM Entrepreneurship curriculum with tools and opportunities that increase student interest, and access greater participation in an innovation economy, specifically in fields where blacks are under-represented including financial services, technology companies, and financial technology (fintech).
Why and Emphasis on Financial Services, Technology, and Financial Technology (Fintech)?
Because CAU endeavors to provide meaningful educational opportunities to inform its students about careers and entrepreneurship that are shaping the future, we have decided to focus on our application in fields that are experiencing significant growth, are relevant in our region, and where our own expertise needs to be strengthened. Additionally, there is significant underrepresentation of minorities in these three growing industries- financial services, technology companies, Financial Technologies (FinTech), which are the focus of this grant application. According to The Washington Post, minorities represent only 2.0 percent in Silicon Valley technology companies 410,000 jobs (https://jointventure.org), African Americans hold only 6 percent of the jobs in STEM fields, and minorities represent only 6 percent of advisers in the financial services sector according to the Depart of Labor. In the fast- growing FinTech (a business that aims at providing financial services by making use of software and modern technology) field, there is also a serious underrepresentation.
Beyond improving the pipeline, we believe a focus on these three related fields leverages the unique geographic position of Atlanta where these three industries have grown in the South, which is unique given that these industries are usually concentrated in financial centers and technology centers on the east and west coasts. We plan to leverage our local partners, home of super regional bank Sun Trust, as well as the burgeoning FinTech payments processing business concentrated in the Atlanta suburbs. According to a recent Metro Atlanta Chamber report, FinTech is one of Georgia's most important and fastest-growing industries: on par with London, New York; drives more than $30 billion in annual revenues, employs 40,000+ people, and processed $5 trillion in 2015 transactions. (www.metroatlantachamber.com). Our request is largely designed to assess our current curricular offerings (across three AUCC institutions) for relevance to these industries; develop courses where there are gaps; develop online and certification options for non-traditional students; forge deeper industry partnership to facilitate student internships and long-term employment; and to engage and develop programs fostered on entrepreneurship related to the three industries.