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Stories, Context, and Lived Experiences of the Black Entrepreneur

As anchor institutions, Jesuit Universities have a social responsibility to understand the current social reality that historically discriminatory practices have created for Black entrepreneurs and provide the leadership necessary to create positive, inclusive change. The Inspirational Paradigm re-imagines how Jesuit business schools will prepare students with the essential skills to lead this positive change. Storytelling is one of those inspirational skills. However, students have access to very few firsthand stories that capture the Black entrepreneur's experience amidst disparate access to economic opportunity. For Jesuit business students to lead inclusive and just social reforms, they must hear Black entrepreneurs' stories in their own words.

This film series brings the stories and experiences of Black Entrepreneurs to classrooms in their own words. The five open access modules below include study materials, activities, and resources to frame important conversations about Black founders and the Baltimore communities where they are creating community wealth. For more information please visit


Module 1: Mortgages and Generational Wealth

Entrepreneur: Tyrell Dixon, Owner and Founder of Project Own

Anti-Black lending practices of the 20th century have had a lasting impact on American society and the financial health of Black households and individuals. The goals of this module are for students to apply pre-requisite knowledge, skills, and concepts related to finance lending and mortgages in order to state, comprehend, and evaluate the devastation of the anti-Black lending practices from both a business and human perspective.

Module 2: Education & Social, Emotional Learning

Entrepreneur: Ashley Williams, CEO and Founder of Infinite Focus Schools

Students and teachers nationwide are returning to post-Covid classrooms with historically elevated levels of stress and anxiety. Addressing this modern crisis in mental health can be a challenge in under-invested communities with teachers who are often ill-prepared to address the social and emotional wellness of their students and themselves. The goals of this module are for students to apply pre-requisite knowledge and skills to understand the relationship between community and education investment and health outcomes for children and families. Students should also reflect upon their role as human-centered investors prepared to engage community based companies and entrepreneurs as an empathetic ally in this work.

Module 3: Housing Insecurity

Entrepreneur: LaQuida Chancey, Founder of Smalltimore Homes

Each night in Baltimore approximately 2700 people are without a consistent or overnight place to live. For these residents, the barriers to affordable housing stem from historically discriminatory policies that segregated Blacks into overcrowded, underfunded communities and a systematic reduction in public housing units.  The goals of this module are for students to apply pre-requisite knowledge, skills, and concepts related to housing policy, federal loan programs, and key court decisions in order to state, comprehend, and evaluate the devastation of the anti-Black housing practices from both a business and human perspective. 

Module 4: Public Health and Wellness

Entrepreneur: Andrew Suggs, Founder of Live Chair Health

Racial disparities in chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes are exacerbated by an uneven distribution of social resources and a lack of trust that stems from the historical exploitation of Blacks by the White medical and political establishment.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, up to 60% of a person’s quality-of-life and health risks are based on the social determinants of health in their zip code. One of the most important social determinants for Black men is health literacy and the access to quality health care.  Andrew Suggs founded Live Chair Health on the idea that trusted barber shop conversations can be used to support the long-term health of Black men who are less likely to seek out primary medical screenings and care on their own.

Module 5: Home Ownership and Wealth Creation

Entrepreneur: Shelley Halstead, Founder and Executive Director of Black Women Build

Throughout the 20th century, federally subsidized superhighways and mortgage loan programs financed the flight of White residents out of industrial cities like Baltimore and into sprawling new suburban communities.   At the same time, government sanctioned urban renewal programs led to the displacement of thousands of Black residents and a precipitous shift in public resources away from many of the Black neighborhoods that remained.  The result has been a 40% drop in Baltimore’s population that’s left behind 15,000 vacant houses and scores of Black neighborhoods in search of investment, businesses, and jobs. Shelley Halstead is the founder and executive director of Black Women Build.  A nonprofit that promotes home ownership and wealth creation by training Black women in carpentry and building trades as they restore vacant and deteriorated houses in West Baltimore neighborhoods like Druid Heights.

Contact Us

For questions or to declare the minor, contact the AAAS Director:

Dr. Raenita A. Fenner
Associate Professor

Phone: (410) - 617 - 2512