The Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community will open its doors for Bowie State University students this semester. The new facility will house the university’s Entrepreneurship Academy and the Bowie Business Innovation Center. (Courtesy Photo)

By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
msayles@afro.com

Bowie State University student entrepreneurs now have a new home at the college: the Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community. The $42 million entrepreneurship hub will open its doors this semester to house over 500 students, and  the facility will contain the university’s Entrepreneurship Academy and the Bowie Business Innovation Center. 

“ will help us to continue to build on the entrepreneurial mindset and help students develop impactful solutions to today’s problems,” said Johnnetta Boseman Hardy, executive director of the Entrepreneurship Academy. The building will feature a residential and retail space where students can collaborate and showcase their products, and the Bowie Business Innovation Center will allow students to utilize a venture lab, maker’s space, lounge and office space. 

According to Hardy, the new facility has been in the works since 2019 and is a part of President Aminta H. Breaux’s three-tier vision of civic engagement, social justice and entrepreneurship. “This new venue will bridge learning environments between the classroom and the larger entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said BSU President Aminta H. Breaux. “It was designed to deepen and enhance the student learning experience. The overarching vision is to have programs and learning environments to help every student here graduate with an entrepreneurial mindset.”

Throughout the year, the Entrepreneurship Academy, a campus-wide initiative for students of every discipline, will host its pitch competitions, workshops, marketplaces, Bowie Bold Talks and incubator programs at the Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community. 

Business student Brian Hill is a senior fellow for the Entrepreneurship Academy, and he said prior to the opening of the Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community, the initiative held meetings in a small classroom. Now, the new facility enables students to live and collaborate with those of the same entrepreneurial mindset. 

“Now, working on your business isn’t a thing that you do between classes,” said Hill. “You wake up, and you’re able to work on it with a whole bunch of people. Then, you go to sleep knowing that you put in work.” Hill’s time with the Entrepreneurship Academy led him to start GoFech, a video production company that creates social media and video content for clients. As a senior fellow, he demonstrates what the initiative offers to students. During his time with the Entrepreneurship Academy, Hill said two primary things he has learned are the power of networking and the lean canvas model, a 1-page business plan template that helps entrepreneurs deconstruct their ideas into key assumptions. 

Fellow business student Dyonna Johnson, who also participates in the Entrepreneurship Academy, said the Entrepreneurship Living and Learning Community will benefit students in a tremendous way. “I feel like we are going to have so much more resources that are going to be helping us to really build our mindset, as well as our business,” said Johnson, who owns Bistro 1594, a restaurant that caters to those with special dietary needs. 

Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members!  Join here!