Hampton University given $17.7M to support entrepreneurship during pandemic


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia is one of eight states receiving new federal grant money to support college students.

More than $126 million will help students develop new skills for high-demand careers.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made the announcement Friday during a visit at Hampton University.

The institution will be getting $17.7 million from the grant.

“I just think this is a plus any way you look at it,” said Hampton University President William Harvey.

This funding was made available through the Education Stabilization Fund of the CARES Act.

In a news release, the US Department of Education said “The winners will leverage the expertise and facilities available on college campuses to spur entrepreneurship and foster business development and innovation as America begins to recover from COVID-19-related disruptions to education. “

With the money, Hampton University will work with the Virginia Board of Workforce Development to establish the Virginia Workforce Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.

It’s a statewide small business incubator project.

Operations will be on HU campus in a designated “Opportunity Zone.”

The center will help Virginia’s aspiring entrepreneurs with economic recovery during the pandemic.

“Hampton University has such a rich history of supporting entrepreneurship and new ideas to problems, solutions, solutions to problems so we’re very excited to be able to announce this grant competition award and looking forward to the outcomes and the results,” said Devos.

Even though it’s headquartered in Hampton, officials say it’ll serve people from across the state who have been unemployed, displaced, or have had their jobs have become obsolete by COVID-19.

Harvey says this was made possible through teamwork.

“I believe in partnerships, I believe in collaborations. The more the merrier, ” said Harvey.

Applications were evaluated by a panel and the highest-scoring ones got funding.

Due to the effects of COVID-19, states with the highest coronavirus burden were prioritized. Awardees include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Virginia.

Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner released a statement about the federal funding for Hampton University Friday afternoon:

“We’re pleased that these federal dollars will assist Hampton University in continuing to serve their students in the face of the current health and economic crisis,” said the Senators. “Historically Black Colleges and Universities help provide a first-rate education for so many students from traditionally underserved communities. We will continue to advocate for them as they support their students during this ongoing crisis.”

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