Five Jackson State University students – Lasonya Walton, a junior entrepreneurship major; Damian Murray, senior finance major; Jasmine King, senior political science major; Shanice Hopson, senior computer science major and Zacchaeus Simmons, a senior majoring in industrial technology – are heading to Detroit this Friday, March 29 through Sunday, March 31 for a chance to make their entrepreneurial dreams come to life.
Detroit-based Ally Financial Inc. has teamed up with fellow Motor City native, entertainer and entrepreneur Sean ‘Big Sean’ Anderson and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to create Moguls in the Making – an innovative program aimed at preparing students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to become future entrepreneurs and members of the business community.
Out of over 500 applicants, TMCF selected 50 students from 10 HBCUs to compete in the weekend-long challenge. In addition to hearing from Ally CEO Jeff Brown, the students will participate in mentoring sessions, hear from local business leaders, and attend financial education classes. For the competition, working in teams of five, they will develop business plans that include solutions to economic issues facing various industries in Detroit.
The teams will pitch their solutions to a panel of judges including Anderson, entertainer, and founder of The Sean Anderson Foundation; Andrea Brimmer, Ally chief marketing and public relations officer; Anand Talwar, deposit and consumer strategy executive; Tommey Walker, principal of Detroit vs. Everybody; and George Spencer, executive vice president of business development, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
“By bringing Moguls in the Making to Detroit, Ally Financial is able to showcase our home city of Detroit while investing in the future of aspiring business leaders to help them realize their full potential,” said Brimmer. “As a company committed to economic mobility and diversity and inclusion, we’re happy to work with like-minded organizations as well as other notable Detroit natives to bring this initiative to life.”
Created to give young entrepreneurs a platform and encouragement to develop much-needed business skills, the Moguls in the Making program will include mentoring sessions and fireside chats along with the chance to meet Detroit native Anderson.
“It’s all about inspiring the youth – providing them with opportunities and knowledge to build their futures. I’m excited to see what they come up with,” said Big Sean, who has partnered with Ally for the Moguls program.
The ten schools represented by student teams include Alabama A&M University, Elizabeth City State University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, Tennessee State University and North Carolina A&T State University. In addition to key learnings from the program, the winning group of students will walk away with Ally internships, a $5,000 scholarship for each team member and Macbook Air computers.
“TMCF is excited to team up with Ally and the Sean Anderson Foundation for the Moguls in the Making Competition. Detroit’s rich history of entrepreneurial endeavors makes the Motor City the perfect place to host the event,” said Spencer. “We are proud this opportunity will benefit both the City of Detroit and 50 of our nation’s brightest students from across 10 publicly-supported HBCUs.”