Howard University, in partnership with Fiserv, Inc. and the Inclusive Innovation Incubator (In3DC), is announcing the launch of Inclusive Innovation Labs (IIL) focused on Howard University students and alumni. Supported by a grant from Fiserv, the IIL is the first program organized in partnership with the Howard University Office of Research, Intellectual Property Unit that will train and support entrepreneurs of color to launch and scale their businesses. Howard University’s network of innovative students and faculty will receive In3DC’s entrepreneursthip training o address the specific needs of entrepreneurs of color.
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“The Inclusive Innovation Labs, sponsored by Fiserv, will help educate and empower Howard entrepreneurs to make a difference in the world by bringing their ideas closer to realization,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “We are grateful to CEO Frank Bisignano and the Fiserv team for their investment in the Howard community and to CEO Aaron Saunders and In3DC for their continued partnership.”
The inaugural program will bring together a cohort of 15 Howard University students, alumni, faculty and small business owners, with a focus on financial technology (fintech) businesses and innovators with patentable work. Participants will receive 48 hours of fully virtual programming, including 24 hours of intense entrepreneurship workshops, weekly one-on-one coaching and support with pitch-deck preparation.
“We have been committed to serving the underrepresented and underserved communities,” said In3DC Founder and CEO Aaron Saunders. “In3DC was established to provide this type of programming with educational partners such as Howard University and companies like Fiserv. The Inclusive Innovation Labs entrepreneurship program has trained over 125 participants, and through this partnership, we will continue to build the entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
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According to Bruce Jones, Ph.D., vice president for research at Howard University, “This partnership represents a perfect marriage between learning and the practical application of learning with the potential to transform how we support communities to thrive.”
The investment from Fiserv, a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, is part of the company’s Back2Business program, a pledge to invest in communities across the country with a focus on helping small minority-owned businesses. In addition, Fiserv associates will lead training sessions for the cohort, sharing real-world expertise on payments, financial technology, customer engagement and cybersecurity.
ILL training will culminate in a rigorous pitch competition, where participants will be judged and receive feedback on their ideas, business model and marketing plans from Fiserv executives, angel investors, journalists, entrepreneurs and technology experts. The competition will award $25,000, $10,000 and $5,000 to first-, second- and third-place winners toward the development of their product, positioning them to successfully pitch outside investors for additional funding.
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