Morehouse Entrepreneurship Center goes GlobalDate Released: February 7, 2018
By Tammy Joyner
The Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center in partnership with JP Morgan Chase & Co. has selected 11 small business owners to participate in a one-year pilot project that will help them to sell their products and services globally.
It is the latest endeavor of Ascend 2020, a program created to help hundreds of minority and women-owned technology firms in low-income neighborhoods in major cities to bring jobs to their communities.
Last year, JP Morgan gave Morehouse a $400,000 grant to start Ascend 2020. The financial firm recently expanded their commitment to the Atlanta program with a supplemental $125,000 grant to create a global component, said Dr. Tiffany Bussey, director of the entrepreneurship center at Morehouse.
Atlanta entrepreneur Candace Mitchell is one of the business owners who will benefit from the grant supplement. She has spent the last five years helping women to find the best hair care products for their hair texture and type.
Clients send samples of their hair to Mitchellʼs hair technology firm, Myavana. The company then does a digital analysis of customersʼ hair before recommending the best products for them. The online hair care business has thrived. Mitchell’s hair analysis service will soon be in stores and salons nationally and eventually, after she completes Ascend training, internationally.
“It would help our business grow tremendously, but also cater to women who have the same problems all over the world with different climates and different hair care product availability,” Mitchell said.
Morehouse’s Global Exchange for Emerging Markets program recently celebrated a program launch before an audience of small business organizations, government and international agencies, and companies that will help GLEEM participants go global.
The group was invited to ask questions, provide feedback and share ways they can contribute to program.
THE GLEEM launch is Morehouse’s first global endeavor for businesses as well as students. The program will be incorporated into Morehouseʼs international business curriculum taught by Professor Gabriela Piscopo.
Morehouse alum Jeff Street ʼ90 gave an overview of the GLEEM program to attendees at the program launch recently. “When I heard about Ascend 2020, I thought it was a good concept from JP Morgan,” said Street, president and CEO of Via-Consulting, which has teamed with MCEC to work on GLEEM. Street owns several software companies.
Street travels frequently for his business, which takes him around the world. During his travels, he said he rarely saw small and minority businesses involved in global ventures.
He wanted to know how “could Morehouse and Atlanta engage and connect into these markets I was seeing.”
Street says GLEEM will help create a more collaborative environment for small and minority businesses to thrive and do business globally.
“Iʼm a firm believer in collaboration and solid business models,” he said.
The dozen businesses expected to participate in the venture will come from a variety of industries ranging from agribusiness to technology. There will be four companies each in Atlanta, Latin America, and West Africa. It will rely heavily on technology to help the entrepreneurs build relationships and business worldwide.
The Ascend 2020 program was started in 2016. The University of Washingtonʼs Foster School of Business continues to lead the effort between higher education and the business community in helping minority, women, veteran and entrepreneurs in urban centers in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
In Atlanta, Morehouse is working with minority tech startups in providing management and marketing consulting and access to money - key resources small companies need to grow their businesses.
Last Modified: February 7, 2018, 12:02 PM, by: Kara Walker