FAMU Receives $100K Wells Fargo Grant To Launch Small Business Incubator

October 20, 2021
Wells Fargo Grant
FAMU Receives $100K Wells Fargo Grant To Launch Small Business Incubator

SBI Dean Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D., with Tallahassee City Commissioners and Leon County Commissioners.

Florida A&M University (FAMU) received a $100,000 grant from Wells Fargo to launch a small business incubator to assist women and minority-owned businesses.

The contribution is part of Wells Fargo’s larger $500,000 investment across Orlando and Tallahassee, with additional funds to be announced in Orlando. When it opens early next year, the incubator will be based in the FAMU Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at 625 E. Tennessee St., where a check presentation ceremony was held Wednesday.

Funding will enable the incubator’s staff to support program participants in exploring the feasibility of their business concepts, launching, expanding and scaling their businesses.

“As FAMU’s official bank, we are pleased to see Wells Fargo stepping up its commitment to small business development. This initiative will catalyze entrepreneurship and reap dividends for years to come,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D.

“Supporting minority-owned small businesses is critical to a more inclusive economic recovery in our local community,” said Wells Fargo Region Bank President Damien Haitsuka. “We are pleased to partner with FAMU on the launch of the small business incubator and look forward to the impact it will make on helping our businesses and entrepreneurs grow and prosper.” 

The Wells Fargo Foundation also provided a grant to FAMU SBDC. The Center is a federal program operated by the FAMU School of Business and Industry (SBI) and provides consulting, training and information to help businesses and entrepreneurs succeed and create a positive impact on the Florida economy.

The past 18 months have been devastating, especially for small minority-owned businesses. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected minority-owned businesses as 41 percent of Black-owned businesses have closed permanently, compared to a 17 percent closure rate for white-owned businesses, said Keith Bowers, regional director of the SBDC.  

“This is an opportune time to establish an incubator that provides resources to minority and women entrepreneurs,” Bowers said. “The FAMU Small Business Incubator will serve as a catalyst in rebuilding minority businesses by equipping them with the tools needed to thrive.”

Grant funds will be used to hire a program manager responsible for the operational functions of the incubator. A portion of the funds will retrofit a physical location to house the incubator and provide the administrative support needed to assist the program participants. The grant will also be utilized to market and promote the services available through the incubator.

Program participants will be required to complete the needs assessment and work with the incubator staff to complete assignments designed to refine their business model and map out critical resources needed to fully implement and execute their business model and plans.

Successful candidates will be admitted to the Founders’ Accelerated Navigation Guide (FANG) for a six-month accelerator business training program designed to provide technical assistance, customer consulting and training. Bowers said three small business owners have already been selected.

FANG programming will consist of business plan support and critique, business model review, minimum viable product development, customer discovery, market research, marketing support, cash flow management, financial analysis, strategic planning, access to capital and business formation technical assistance.

For more information, contact Keith Bowers at keith.bowers@famu.edu or visit

For more information, contact Keith Bowers at keith.bowers@famu.edu or visit