GNO Inc. Partners with HBCUs, Startups to Create Internship Program

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NEW ORLEANS (press release) — Greater New Orleans, Inc., in partnership with Xavier University of Louisiana, Dillard University, and Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO), and along with The Idea Village, has announced the first cohort of participants in the HBCU Entrepreneurship Internship Program.  The goal of the program is to bring together the local startup community to train the next generation of successful entrepreneurs of color, inspire students to become innovative change makers, and increase the innovation capacity of regional startup firms. 

“Greater New Orleans has a long history of Black entrepreneurship,” said Michael Hecht, GNO Inc. president and CEO.  “The HBCU Entrepreneurship Internship Program aims to continue and grow this legacy, by giving students from our local HBCU’s paid opportunities to learn how to be successful entrepreneurs, from within our region’s best startups.”

The HBCU Startup Internship pairs 12 selected Juniors and Seniors from the partnering institutions with startup companies in the region who are seeking qualified, diverse talent.

“Throughout their respective histories, HBCUs have prepared and continue to prepare generations of change-makers and leaders,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “The HBCU Entrepreneurship Internship Program is an excellent initiative to give our students opportunities to be in the position to open their own doors for economic success. Since taking office, one of the priorities for my administration has been to ensure that all our residents, especially our young people, are prepared for future employment and are connected to opportunities and industries that allow them to thrive.”  

The HBCU Internship participants for Summer 2021 are:

  • Victoria Hardy of Dillard University, interning with Resilia
  • Terrence Gragg II of Dillard University, interning with Broadmoor LLC
  • Lydia Paige Moffett of Dillard University, interning with Square Button
  • Jywana Moore of Dillard University, interning with Torsh
  • Chelsea Mingo of Xavier University, interning with Junum
  • Naomi Winston of Xavier University, interning with Obatala
  • Landan Moore of Xavier University, interning with NOBIC
  • Alayna Prince of Xavier University, interning with rasa.io
  • Brandon Smith of SUNO, interning with Upriver Solutions
  • Tiandra Kaufman of SUNO, interning with Catalyst:Ed
  • Ariel McGruder of SUNO, interning with Lucid
  • Keandra Darjean of SUNO, interning with Lookfar

“Xavier is proud to partner with GNO, Inc. to provide our students with even more excellent opportunities for hands-on experience,” said Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University of Louisiana. “Experiential learning is invaluable to our students who will one day change the world with their ideas and ventures.”

GNO, Inc., through partnership with the Krewe de Nieux, identified 12 startups in the region to host the interns for a 120-hour internship experience that will run from June 7 to July 9, 2021. The companies participating in the program are: Broadmoor LLC, Catalyst:Ed, Junum, Lookfar, Lucid, New Orleans BioInnovation Center, Obatala, rasa.io, Resilia, Square Button, Torsh, and Upriver Solutions. The interns will be paid during their participation.

“My students were excited to be selected for this program,” said Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough, President of Dillard University. “They know that internships are key in providing real-world experience that employers look for beyond earning the degree. This program provides an opportunity not only for HBCU students, but for the city to show a tangible investment in diversifying emerging industries and career fields.”

The internship will introduce the students to the entrepreneurial mindset and provide hands-on training in high impact, real-world entrepreneurship settings.  Participants will develop creative capacity, entrepreneurial confidence, mentorship, and acquire the necessary skills to build scalable startups that solve real problems.

The HBCU Entrepreneurship Internship Program is part of GNO, Inc.’s Economic Mobility Strategy, which focuses on action-oriented initiatives to promote Black wealth creation in Greater New Orleans. The program is also part of GNO Inc.’s effort to increase regional opportunities for paid internships in the Greater New Orleans Region. 

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