by Dr. Roslyn Artis | BLAVITY: Opinion
Bathsheba Benedict clearly had a plan for the future in mind (vision) and she demonstrated that she was willing to risk her financial investment during those turbulent times, when many who tried to create educational opportunities for the descendants of the former enslaved were met with violence. However, she forged ahead with the plan to provide a quality education for the newly emancipated men and women (entrepreneurial). Although education in general, and higher education specifically, was not a new idea or concept, providing a college education to Black men and women was indeed a disruption to the post-civil war education model (innovation).
That spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation continues today at Benedict College, where we have forged a path towards capturing and cultivating innovation and entrepreneurship amongst our majority first-generation college students.
First and foremost, we are meeting our students (and their talents) where they are. Tiger Cutz, is one such example. We noticed that students are starting college with established small businesses – they are licensed barbers, cosmetologists and nail technicians. This “side hustle economy” provides much needed resources for college students struggling to purchase food, clothing and, in some instances, help pay for tuition and books. Having such an outlet can also serve (and service) the needs of students, as well as faculty and staff, right on campus. In addition, the proximity of Tiger Cutz on campus can also service the greater community in which the college resides.