Grep Beat: Triangle Tech News

By Elizabeth Moore

August 20, 2020

A seat at the table

HBCUs, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities, are places of higher education that primarily serve African Americans. The state of North Carolina has 10 of these institutions—the most of any state—and three of them are in the Triangle: St. Augustine’s University and Shaw University in Raleigh, and North Carolina Central University in Durham.

Shaw is the oldest HBCU in the South, founded in 1865, while NC Central is the newest, founded in 1910. Each of the Triangle’s HBCUs offer business and entrepreneurial programs.

Two HBCU entrepreneurial educators tell GrepBeat that it can be challenging to keep up with the Triangle’s large research institutions in terms of resources and connections to employers.

Sheria D. Rowe, Assistant Dean in SAU’s School of Business, Management, and Technology, has built out the entrepreneurship program from one class to two, which students can take as a concentration within their business major.

Henry McKoy, Director of Entrepreneurship and Faculty for NC Central’s School of Business, says part of the challenge is that the local HBCUs are not always top of mind.

I think part of it’s just that, historically, there’s a sense that, ‘Oh, well, the Triangle universities mean UNC, NC State and Duke,’” McKoy said.

McKoy, who holds degrees from both UNC and Duke and worked in banking for about a decade, entered North Carolina’s public sector and was appointed by the governor as Assistant Secretary for the NC Department of Commerce where he oversaw community economic development like affordable housing and small businesses. McKoy says he has served and continues to serve on dozens of public sector boards and commissions from the local to federal level.