WSSU to use grant to help aspiring entrepreneurs
A $40,000 grant from the DataMax Foundation will support efforts by the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) at Winston-Salem State University’s School of Business and Economics to encourage new businesses as part of its focus on expanding economic development in the community around the university.
“This grant from DataMax will support our efforts to reach at least 100 aspiring entrepreneurs in need of guidance and support during the 24 months of the fund duration,” said Dr. Notis Pagiavlas, associate professor of marketing at WSSU and founding director of the CFE. “With the CFE now located in The Enterprise Center, we are seeing meaningful results. In conjunction with the S. G. Atkins Community Development Corporation, we have provided counseling sessions and educational programs for those organizations currently in our business incubator and in the broader community. We also have been able to involve our WSSU students, which have provided additional support for the businesses and experiential learning for those in the MBA program.”
Pagiavlas pointed out that the areas surrounding the Piedmont Triad Research Park and Winston-Salem State are some of the poorest neighborhoods in the community. That area is the focus of the economic development efforts of both the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Atkins CDC.
“The median family income in that area of our community is below the overall city average and nearly 70 percent of the residents have only a high school degree or less, which leads to a persistent unemployment rate of about 16 percent,” Pagiavlas explained. “More than 40 percent of the households are below the poverty level and there is a sense of economic disenfranchisement and isolation among many who live there. We have, however, seen by the work done thus far by the Center and the S. G. Atkins Community Development Corporation that an equitable economic development strategy can assist people in this area with forming small businesses or nonprofit entrepreneurship projects. While they may face roadblocks, we are educating, supporting and guiding those who have the ideas, the aspirations and the willingness to work to build a business.”
The $40,000 grant will be paid over two years and will be used to create awareness of business opportunities and to work with area residents on creating business plans, as well as to provide technical consulting in areas such as marketing, economic analysis and human resource management.
“We are excited to be a partner in these continued economic development efforts,” said Robert Egleston, president and CEO of DataMax. “The Center for Entrepreneurship has made remarkable strides in the past and we are honored to have played a part in that success and look forward to seeing the results from this latest grant.”