The HBCU Founders Initiative Announces Five New Members For Its Pre-Accelerator Program

The HBCU Founders Initiative (HBCUFI) has selected five HBCUs to participate in its Pre-Accelerator Program. Hampton University, Morehouse College, Texas Southern University, Benedict College, and Bethune-Cookman University are the newest members of the HBCUFI cohort. The nonprofit organization is designed to provide support to HBCU students and alumni as they venture into entrepreneurship. Through tech-centered projects, participants are given the opportunity to expand their business acumen as they bring their entrepreneurial endeavors to life. 

The inaugural HBCUFI Fall 2022 cohort was composed of seven HBCUs: Bowie State University, Elizabeth City State University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T University, Oakwood University, Prairie View A&M University, and Spelman College. Now it consists of 12 universities, each committed to assisting students on their paths as entrepreneurs. Each university will host two eight-week Pre-Accelerators with one session in the fall and the second in the following spring. These Pre-Accelerators will support eight startups per cohort, all of which will help participants as they develop their business models past the ideation stage. 

Each week, the Pre-Accelerator Program will convene virtually to discuss different topics, including building a prototype, customer discovery, marketing and branding, and other business operations. At the end of the program, participants will be given the opportunity to pitch their projects and possibly receive awards to aid their MVP development. 

Before establishing its 2022 cohort, the HBCU Founders Initiative offered entrepreneurial guidance to aspiring business owners through an online program. This virtual program is open to hundreds of HBCUs outside the cohort. Now, through direct partnerships with the universities, the organization is able to expand its outreach and assist hundreds more college students and alumni.

Since its launch in 2020, the HBCU Founders Initiative has impacted over 750 students and alumni across more than 80 historically Black universities and colleges, and participants have raised over $2 million for their startups.

​​”We are pleased to have five additional HBCUs join us in fulfilling our mission to ensure that innovative ideas don’t die on the vine because there is no one available to cultivate them,” said HBCUFI President Marlon Evans.

“By providing a structured program that connects our participants with executives and entrepreneurs with deep experience building companies, coupled with providing access to pre-seed funding, HBCUFI is helping to build an unprecedented innovation ecosystem on HBCU campuses.”

Applications for the Fall 2023 Pre-Accelerator Program will be accepted between July 1 and August 6.

To learn more and to apply, visit

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