The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation was established through a generous gift from alumni Mark Wilson and his wife Shelly Wilson. Mr. Mark Wilson serves as Chairman of the Wilberforce University Board of Trustees and is the CEO/Founder of Chime Solutions, Inc. The Wilsons have given their time and talent to Wilberforce University and are the examples we seek for our students. The Wilson’s generosity has positioned The Center as a place where ideas of entrepreneurship and innovation become reality.

The Center’s Mission: The mission of The Center is to generate change through entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Center’s Structure: The Center is led by the Collaborative Leadership Model. Faculty and Staff oversee the efforts of The Center, while the day to day operations are led by an Executive Director. The Collaborative Leadership Model is charged with identifying opportunities to engage our communities in solution making through entrepreneurship and innovation.

Project Director – Ms. NaAsiaha C. Simon

Collaborative Leadership Model 

Dr. Micheal Robinson, Assistant Provost
Dr. Micheal Simmons, Dean of the College of Professional Studies
Dr. Anu Venkateswaran, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Charles Fox, Director of Telecommunications and Assistant Professor of Mass Communications

Wilberforce University is using a collaborative leadership model to provide an interdisciplinary approach to the work of The Center. The Team leads the efforts by strategizing, planning, and implementing together. We believe this model will allow for the strongest outcomes and deliverables for The Center. 

Contact Information:

The vision for the Mark and Shelly Wilson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation includes focusing on entrepreneurship to create possibilities in the communities our students reside. The focus is on transformative practices that inform, empower, and impact communities that Wilberforce University serves… Participants in the efforts of The Center will emerge as change agents through entrepreneurial intentions, shaping a future that is self-reliant, collaborative, and forward-thinking.

The Center’s Strategy: The Center’s foundational strategy consists of engagement, experiential learning, and research. The Center seeks:

  • to increase entrepreneurship in the communities our students represent
  • to facilitate change through experiential learning opportunities
  • to serve as a research hub that produces accessible resources for our communities
  • to develop innovative strategies to generate new ideas and practices

The Entrepreneurial Mindset: 

The University strategy is to engage students in the entrepreneurial mindset. The demonstration of the following skills characterizes this mindset:  

    • critical thinking  
    • problem-solving  
    • innovation   
    • risk-taking   
    • free-thinking   
    • dedication   
    • integrity   
  • discipline 

Past Events and Opportunites:

February 27-28, 2018- Emerging Entreprenuers Learning Series- Social Media Marketing and Branding.

January 15, 2018- Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service- Students engage the community through service! Sign up to interact with a community organization. Transportation will be provided, lunch served following the event.

Past Emerging Entrepreneur’s Selection Process:

The selection process for the 2018-19 Emerging Entrepreneur’s Program and Road Trip is closed, please check back in April 2019 for more about the 2019-20 application process. For more information email or review the 2018 selection process below.

Step I: Prepare an Executive Summary (your two-paged, double spaced, typed-12pt font) that communicates the following-
Overview of your Business Idea, Product or Services Offered, Customers or Prospective Customers Sales & Marketing Strategy, Clear vision of what business you’re trying to create, Good ideas of the potential, as well as the issues of the intended business, and your contact information.

Step II: Meet with one of the following IDEA Coaches-
Dr. Marvin Reid (
Rev. Gerald Poe (
Dr. Charles Fox (
Dr. Anu Venkateswaran ( LIMITED AVAILABILITY

Step III: Submit Executive Summary to

Step IV: Interview with the Selection Committee (may do so in-person or via technology)

Step V: If selected, prepare to travel to Atlanta, GA to embark on the Wilberforce University Emerging Entrepreneur’s Road Trip!

Please note: A business plan is not required to enter. You will have an opportunity to develop a business plan during the competition. The business submissions must be your own original work and ideas. You must also be currently enrolled at Wilberforce University to participate. Must be an enrolled student who is a Freshman, Sophomore, or Junior.

July-August 2018
WU Underground Student Run Dining Enterprise Summer Internship

June 2018
Minority Business Enterprise Day

December 2018
Emerging Entrepreneur Road Trip 2018

November 8, 2017
Gathering of the Mind Think Tank 
9-5PM, Think Tank, Aerobics Room
Re-Imagining the Educational Reality

Ribbon Cutting of The Dr. Mark and Shelly Wilson Center For Entrepreneurship, Social Good, and Transformational Leadership
12NOON, Wolfe Administration Building Ground Floor

Community Discussion
7PM, Aerobics Room
(Re-)Considering HBCUs as Solution Makers

2018-19 Emerging Entrepreneurs

Erin Evans
Jalen Martin Wilkerson

Erinn Williams
Jalen Wakefield

Alex McClure
Charlissa Lee

© 2018 Wilberforce University - All Rights Reserved.

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