Grant Warner, Ph.D., has been named the first Bank of America Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Black Entrepreneurship (CBE), according to a joint statement from Spelman College, Morehouse College, and the Black Economic Alliance Foundation. His appointment will take effect on January 1, 2023. Dr. Warner will assist the CBE’s aim to better link Black entrepreneurs with corporate executives and the venture capital investment they need to thrive in the business world. Dr. Warner is a recognized expert in entrepreneurship and college programs.
Dr. Grant Warner, incoming Director of the Center for Black Entrepreneurship stated, “I am honored to join the CBE, to build on Spelman’s and Morehouse’s strong legacies of innovation, and partner with the Black Economic Alliance to achieve the CBE’s mission.” He added, “I have dedicated my career to identifying and implementing new opportunities for Black entrepreneurs, particularly at HBCUs. I strongly believe in the CBE’s vision of developing commercial pathways for Black entrepreneurs and building an ecosystem of investors and business leaders to support them, and I am excited to help bring the vision to life.”
As part of his responsibilities, Dr. Warner will create a forward-thinking and long-lasting plan for the CBE that is consistent with the goals of the institutions and their dedication to generating entrepreneurial graduates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. In order to implement CBE strategic initiatives, improve learning opportunities for students pursuing the Morehouse and Spelman Entrepreneurship minors, and direct an online certificate program that will be accessible to professionals looking to expand their knowledge, he will collaborate with the Morehouse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (MIEC), the Spelman Innovation Lab, Morehouse Business Administration and Economics Division, and Spelman Economics Department academic leadership.
Helene Gayle, M.D., MPH, President of Spelman College, “The CBE will benefit greatly from Dr. Warner’s leadership and vision.”She remarked, “we look forward to continuing to partner with Morehouse College and the Black Economic Alliance Foundation to further strengthen the ecosystem for aspiring Black entrepreneurs, as well as provide them with connections to corporate and venture capital funding under Dr. Warner’s leadership.”
“As a founding partner of the Center for Black Entrepreneurship, it is critical for our institutions to support the development of modern, impactful, and sustainable businesses, while continuing to foster a community of innovation for young Black entrepreneurs,” David A. Thomas, Ph.D., President of Morehouse College noted. “Dr. Warner’s first-hand entrepreneurial experience, particularly in the technology innovation space, will be instrumental in implementing and expanding our participants’ growth opportunities.”
Samantha Tweedy, President of, the Black Economic Alliance Foundation remarked, “we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Warner to the CBE.” she continued, “through his dedication to innovation and entrepreneurialism, Dr. Warner is uniquely suited to continue building upon the CBE’s mission to eliminate the access barrier between Black entrepreneurs, professional investors, and business builders by harnessing the multiplier effect of education, mentorship, access to capital, and opportunity for Black entrepreneurs.”
With nearly two decades of experience at the nexus of innovation, business, and higher education, Dr. Warner is a seasoned HBCU educator and technology entrepreneur. He brings a special blend of first-hand experience and administrative leadership to his work of expanding opportunities for students and professionals. He created HowU Innovate, an interdisciplinary effort that offers campus-wide innovation programs in which students are mentored through the process of starting digital firms while serving as professor and director of innovation at Howard University before joining the CBE. In order to commercialize academic research from HBCUs with a concentration on the DMV region, he also created the Howard University – Hampton University I-Corps Site program.
ConnectYard, a social analytics platform for top learning management systems and e-learning platforms, and XediaLabs, a DC-based incubator that offers technical consultation and training to regional companies, were both created by Dr. Warner. He has participated in the federal Lab-to-Market community as a national faculty member for the NSF I-Corps program, the DOE Energy I-Corps program, and the I-Corps at NIH. He has trained hundreds of teams and businesses around the country on innovation and entrepreneurship in those capacities.
Dr. Warner holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, an M.S. from Penn State University, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University.
The CBE, a partnership between the BEA Foundation, Spelman College, and Morehouse College that is supported by a $10 million gift from Bank of America, intends to expand the pool of Black entrepreneurs and link them with business possibilities. CBE students will get help in addressing the systemic hurdles Black entrepreneurs typically experience while attempting to begin and run a firm through academic instruction, access to mentors, and exposure to the program’s broad network of business leaders and investors. The CBE will eventually help close the investment gap by encouraging investment in Black-founded businesses.