The HBCU Founders Initiative (HBCUFI), a startup accelerator and non-profit that works with founders at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), a philanthropic organization that funds scholarships for Black students and 37 HBCUs, have partnered to host the Better Futures competition.
The competition will be held on April 21st at the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. and will feature 10 top-performing startups from the HBCU Founders Fellowship program who will compete for up to $25,000 in funding.
“At UNCF, we are excited about our partnership with HBCUFI and look forward to co-hosting the Better Futures competition,” said Dr. Chad Womack, vice president of National STEM Programs and Tech Initiatives at the UNCF. “The pitch competition represents a capstone experience for students participating in the HBCU Founders Fellowship program and provides a wonderful showcase of their entrepreneurial talents so the world can see the nextgen innovators and leaders from across our HBCU campuses.”
Expected attendees at the Better Futures competition include founders, corporate executives, investors, government officials, university administrators, and HBCU faculty, students, and alumni from the DMV region.
“For early-stage startups, exposure to investors and potential enterprise customers is critical,” Marlon Evans, President of the HBCU Founders Initiative said. “We are excited to showcase HBCU founders, who often lack access to the resources necessary to scale their businesses, at the Better Futures competition.”
The 10 Better Futures finalists are students and alumni from the following HBCUs: Bowie State University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, Spelman College, and Oakwood University.
The founders are creating tech-fueled solutions in education, e-commerce, transportation, health/wellness, and more.
Presenting companies include:
- Co-Lab Instrumental Radio – Instrumental Radio generated by hosting beat submission contests and DJ mix contests (Bowie State University)
- Car Seat Companion – Improving car seats today, to make them safer tomorrow (Elizabeth City State University)
- Vaila Shoes – A modern dress shoe brand for women with extended shoe sizes (Fayetteville State University)
- Idhini, Inc – Connecting the BIPOC community to medical research (Morgan State University)
- Monocle – A social e-reader that enables a community-focused reading experience through shared notes within a book (North Carolina A&T State University)
- Scholist App – A scholarship platform designed to help students discover, apply, and keep track of scholarships (Prairie View A&M University)
- WellMiss – Virtual and holistic healing space for women of all backgrounds to work through trauma (Spelman College)
- Back to the Roots – Solving food insecurity by providing quick, accessible, and healthy solutions (North Carolina A&T State University)
- Covered Always – Protect your investment with Covered Always Car Warranty (Oakwood University)
- All Things College – Informing students and parents nationwide on college readiness, standardized test prep, and scholarships (Spelman College)