ASU Historic Partnership to Make $130 Million Investment in Alabama's Small Businesses and Communities!

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One of ASU's historic residence halls on campus.

ASU Part of Historic Partnership to Make $130 Million Investment in Alabama's Small Businesses and Communities!

- ASU joins Hope Enterprise Corporation, Goldman Sachs, several cities and other Southern HBCUs to launch the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative to reduce economic inequality.

- By: Kenneth Mullinax/ASU.

The Hope Enterprise Corporation, with a $130 million commitment from Goldman Sachs, has partnered with Alabama State University, seven cities and eight other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to launch the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative (DSEMC). Its purpose is to bring stability and strength to both businesses and communities that have been severely impacted by the financial crisis, via an innovative collaborative partnership. 

Alabama State University President, Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr., said it is important for the University to join in this partnership that will invest in the power of small businesses and entrepreneurs in Alabama and throughout the Deep South, especially those from underserved areas. 

"We are excited to join with Hope Enterprise Corporation and Goldman Sachs to launch the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative (DSEMC). This partnership acknowledges the impactful work that is already being done in the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Alabama State University," said ASU President Ross. 

"The ASU Small Business Development Center has helped to launch and support hundreds of small and minority-owned businesses, providing the resources to form a foundation for success even during difficult economic times. Our involvement in DSEMC allows ASU's SBDC to expand its work and the University to advance its goal of continuing to be a transformative community partner," Ross added. 

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ASU's President Ross (Photo credit: David Campbell/ASU). 

The effort of this Deep South collaborative utilizes the acumen and expertise of all of the partners to provide an avenue to financing, business support services, business education classes, and to leverage support from the private, public and nonprofit sectors. This comprehensive initiative focuses on stabilizing and strengthening small businesses, and bolstering employment in a region characterized by deeply entrenched poverty and racial disparities.
“For centuries, racism and economic inequality has thwarted human and economic potential in the Deep South, but our story doesn’t end there,” said Bill Bynum, CEO of HOPE. “Equipped with opportunity and the right tools, people of this region can accomplish anything. Fueled by their resilience, and harnessing the collective resources of DSEMC, together, we will knock down the barriers facing underserved businesses and communities in a way that has never been done before. The collaborative will help build a more inclusive economy that will yield benefits now and for future generations.”

 Executives with Goldman Sachs believe that the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative reflects the company’s ongoing commitment to invest deeply in strategies that will help close the racial wealth gap.

“Black business ownership is a proven way to advance economic mobility,” said Margaret Anadu, a Goldman Sachs partner and head of the Urban Investment Group. “Goldman Sachs has a long history of building up black and women-owned businesses through 10,000 Small Businesses and by investing in community development financial institutions like HOPE. 

While the DSEMC is open to all small businesses, the impact of the pandemic and economic crisis has disproportionately harmed communities of color. Recent research shows that between February and mid-April of 2020, 41% of black businesses had permanently closed, compared to 17% of white-owned businesses. Furthermore, the value of black businesses in the Deep South is lower than in any other part of the country, underscoring the urgent need for solutions in a region with the highest percentage of black residents.
Through the collaborative, each partner brings unique capabilities and years of experience, and all are passionate about promoting economic opportunity in their communities. Participating HBCUs include 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, and LeMoyne-Owen College.The municipalities involved are Birmingham and Montgomery in Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Baton Rouge and New Orleans in Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; and Memphis, Tennessee. 
Projections call for the DSEMC to serve 4,000 - 5,000 businesses as well as to support 30,000 employees and their family members while improving conditions in Deep South communities to further black economic mobility.
To learn more about the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative, visit 

News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104. 

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 benefited more than 1.7 million people in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. 


Founded in 1867, Alabama State University is a comprehensive, regional institution offering students from across the nation and around the globe a world-class education. Over the past 15 years, ASU has experienced tremendous growth, both physically and academically. State-of-the-art academic facilities now grace the 395-acre campus. High-demand programs have been established and cutting-edge research is being conducted by ASU faculty and students. With a focus on a global initiative, the campus has a more diverse population while maintaining its proud heritage as one of the nation’s leading Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs). We offer the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science, as well as master’s and educational specialist degrees. The University also offers the Ph.D. in microbiology, the Ed.D. and the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy and Law, the Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy and the Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics. 

For more information about Alabama State University, visit   

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital and business support services. To date, more than 9,100 business owners have graduated from the program across all 50 states in the US, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.