Birmingham, Miles College to join $130M small business partnership funded by Goldman Sachs

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Miles College
The campus of Mile College. Photo via Miles College

This week, Hope Enterprise Corporation, with a $130 million commitment from Goldman Sachs,  announced it is partnering with seven cities, and nine historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to launch the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative (DSEMC).

Locally, the city of Birmingham and Miles College have joined the effort.

What is the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative?

Birmingham Skyline
Big things are in store for our Magic City. Picture by Jon Eastwood for BhamNow.

Formed to stabilize and strengthen businesses and communities devastated by the economic crisis, DSEMC is an innovative collaborative that invests in the power of small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Deep South, particularly those from underserved and under-resourced communities, according to a statement released by the group.

DSEMC taps the expertise and capabilities of Hope Enterprise Corporation, Goldman Sachs, institutions of higher learning and cities in a unique way to provide access to financing, business education classes, and business support services, leveraging support from the private, public and nonprofit sectors. This comprehensive support focuses on stabilizing and strengthening small businesses, and bolstering employment in a region characterized by deep, entrenched poverty and racial disparities.

Goldman Sachs Commitment

Miles College
Students from Miles College. Photo via Miles College

“Black business ownership is a proven way to advance economic mobility,” said Goldman Sachs Partner and Head of the Urban Investment Group Margaret Anadu. “Goldman Sachs has a long history of building up Black and women-owned businesses through 10,000 Small Business and by investing in Community Development Financial Institutions like HOPE. The Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative reflects our ongoing commitment to invest deeply in strategies to close the racial wealth gap.”

Participating HBCUs in the partnership are: 

  • Alabama State University
  • Miles College
  • Philander Smith College
  • Dillard University
  • Southern University and A&M College
  • Xavier University of Louisiana
  • Jackson State University
  • Tougaloo College
  • LeMoyne-Owen College

“Partnering with the world’s preeminent investment bank will anchor Miles College as the incubator for Black owned businesses and entrepreneurs in our region,” said Bobbie Knight, Miles College President. “This alliance with Goldman Sachs and Hope Credit Union will create a groundbreaking impact and support the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Ed Fields, General Chalres Krulak, Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin and Bobbie Knight, Birmingham, Alabama, transition, committee
Ed Fields, General Chalres Krulak, Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin and Bobbie Knight, via randallwoodfin.com

HOPE

HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corporation, Hope Credit Union and Hope Policy Institute) provides financial services; aggregates resources; and engages in advocacy to mitigate the extent to which factors such as race, gender, birthplace and wealth limit one’s ability to prosper. Since 1994, HOPE has generated more than $2.9 billion in financing that has benefitted more than 1.7 million people in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. 

Along with Birmingham, the cities joining the collaborative include:

  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • New Orleans in Louisiana
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Memphis, Tennessee.

Bottomline

Miles College
Miles College advanced in tech. Photo via Miles College

The Collaborative is expecting  to serve 4-5,000 businesses and support 30,000 employees. and their family members. Their goal: improving conditions in Deep South communities to further Black economic mobility.

We look forward to seeing Miles College and the city of Birmingham take advantage of the this incredible opportunity.

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  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.