MOREHEAD CITY — Perry Harker, vice president of Corporate and Community Education at Carteret Community College, is among 25 individuals recently named as a member of the inaugural NC IDEA Foundation’s NC Black Entrepreneurship Council.
NC IDEA, a Durham-based private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, recently announced the formation of the NC BEC.
According to a press release issued Monday by CCC, establishing the council to serve the entrepreneurial aspirations and economic potential of North Carolina’s black community supports the foundation’s previous commitment that no less than 50% of programmatic and funding resources be to underserved, under-resourced and underrepresented communities, notably minorities, women and rural constituencies.
“I am honored to be selected to serve on this statewide council,” Mr. Harker said. “We have a strong and accomplished team of council members assembled from across the state, all focused on working together to improve entrepreneurship in our state for minorities and underserved members of our state.
“Being involved in the council and representing our eastern area of the state, I am optimistic of the resources and support we can bring to our local community,” he continued. “This important work aligns with that of Carteret CC in training students for the workforce of tomorrow while promoting entrepreneurship as a viable career option.”
“We are encouraged and humbled that our announcement of the Council drew an overwhelming response from accomplished individuals, affirming community support for this vital work,” Thom Ruhe, CEO and president of NC IDEA, said. “The Council will focus on economically empowering Black people with entrepreneurship, thereby combating economic inequality that perpetuates racial disparities.”
The NC BEC will help guide the foundation in its programmatic and grant making ambitions in furtherance of North Carolina’s black community. Council members will work closely with the foundation to identify, recommend and support partners and programs with the expressed purpose of elevating Black entrepreneurship.
Service on the council will also include input on NC IDEA Foundation’s funding decisions, specifically grants awarded to partner organizations through the NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM program. The formation of the council coincides with a recent commitment by the NC IDEA Foundation’s board of directors that the foundation will manage operating budgets for the next two fiscal years of at least 10% of net assets; namely, twice the minimum amount required by law.
The resulting increase in programmatic spend will provide a minimum of $500,000 with the hope that other organizations, companies and individuals may wish to likewise add funding to these activities.
“I strongly believe that one path for economic empowerment is through entrepreneurship, whether that is starting a part-time business or pursuing the dream of full-time business ownership,” Mr. Harker said. “Although the purpose of the council is to guide the foundation on serving the economic potential of North Carolina’s black community, I am confident it will benefit all people wanting to use entrepreneurship as a