Morehouse Students Win Top ‘Moguls in the Making’ $20K Pitch Prize For Property Ownership Solution

Ally and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund recently collaborated for the fourth annual Moguls in the Making entrepreneurial pitch competition.

Two entertainment powerhouses participated in this year’s competition to help make it successful.

Hip-hop artist Big Sean, who has been instrumental since the start of the initiative in 2019, and entertainer Terrence J who graduated from an HBCU, NC A&T State University, in 2004. Both artists spoke to the participants of the competition, giving pertinent advice and support.

“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 in a written statement. “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.”

The latest installment of the annual competition ran from Sept. 15–18, as it was hosted by Ally in alliance with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Sixty students from several HBCUs, including 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 were involved in the competition.

The students, comprised of 15 teams with four students each, had been tasked with developing an idea on how to provide economic support mobility in Charlotte, North Carolina, and supply a business plan to make those ideas work. Each of the 15 teams was given 10 minutes to present those plans to a select panel of judges, who then awarded prizes to the top three teams. Members of the top competing teams received a scholarship for the 2023 school year, guaranteed paid internships at Ally for Summer 2023, and other rewards to support their education.

“As the product of an HBCU, I know the importance of programs like Moguls in the Making for diverse communities,” said Terrence J, who also doubles as an ambassador with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “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.”

Here’s the breakdown of the winners of the fourth Moguls in the Making are:

First Place: Morehouse College, $20,000 scholarships for each student.

The 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 DC
  • Zion Melson, sophomore business administration major from Alpharetta, Ga
Members of the winning team from Morehouse College pose with award-winning musician, entertainer, and philanthropist Big Sean (center) after the Moguls in the Making entrepreneurial pitch program in Charlotte, NC. Each student took home a $20,000 scholarship for winning the competition. Photo credit – Cheldrick Wooding, Ally Financial

Second Place: Morgan State University, $10,000, scholarships for each student.

In second place, an art-infused mobile unit called Van-Go utilizes virtual reality and visual technology to assist youth in developing critical soft skills for business, including creativity, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. The immersive experience boosts self-confidence and enhances students’ educational pursuits, leading to higher earning potential over the long term.

  • Jamaun Tatum, junior elementary education major from Owings Mills, MD
  • Martin Adu-Boahene, senior information systems major from Jessup, MD
  • Kendall McCollough, junior marketing major from Reynoldsburg, Ohio
  • Latrell Stovall, junior electrical engineering major from Sterling Heights, Mich.

Third Place: Southern University (Baton Rouge), $5,000, scholarships for each student.

The third-place concept, Charlotte Community Lift & Integration Program (C.C.L.I.P), is designed to address the issue of segregation by bringing all socioeconomic classes to live, play, and work together in the same neighborhood. A mixed-income community will actively integrate residents regardless of their place on the financial spectrum while providing them access to valuable resources and opportunities to increase their social capital through the areas of housing, workforce development, education, and leisure.

  • Kennedy Clark, junior marketing major from Belleville, Mich.
  • Nicolas Hardin, junior computer science major from Zachary, La.
  • Skye Taylor, senior mechanical engineering major from Gonzales, La.
  • Brandis Lee, sophomore accounting major from Baton Rouge, La.

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.”