The Wells Fargo Foundation, the leading bank of Florida A&M University (FAMU), donated $100,000 to the university to open a small business incubator to support women and minority-owned businesses.
“As FAMU’s official bank, we are pleased to see Wells Fargo stepping up its commitment to small business development. This initiative will catalyze entrepreneurship and reap dividends for years to come,” FAMU President Larry Robinson said in an official press release from the FAMU Forward.
The grant is a part of Well Fargo’s larger commitment to FAMU to invest a total of $500,000 across Orlando and Tallahassee, Florida. The recent donation will also support the incubator’s staff in helping participants explore the feasibility of their business concepts, launching, expanding, and scaling their businesses.
Funds will also be used to hire a program manager, retrofit a location to house the incubator, provide administrative support to participants, and market and promote the services available through the incubator.
“Supporting minority-owned small businesses is critical to a more inclusive economic recovery in our local community,” Wells Fargo Region Bank President Damien Haitsuka said in the release. “We are pleased to partner with FAMU on the launch of the small business incubator and look forward to the impact it will make on helping our businesses and entrepreneurs grow and prosper.”
According to statistics shared by FAMU Foundation Director and Vice President for University Advancement Shawnta S. Friday, the incubator has the potential to prevent startup businesses from failing early on.
“For minorities, the numbers are even more daunting,” Friday told the Tallahassee Democrat. “Eight out of 10 Black-owned businesses fail within the first 18 months. But there is good news. Studies show that the five-year survival rate for incubated ventures is 87%. That’s why we are here today. We want to invest in the dreams of entrepreneurs.”
The Wells Fargo Foundation also donated a grant to FAMU’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a federal program facilitated by the FAMU School of Business and Industry. The center supports businesses and entrepreneurs in succeeding by providing consulting, training, and information.
The incubator is projected to open early next year at the SBDC, 625 E. Tennessee St., where a check presentation was held on Oct. 20.