Rutgers GSE CMSI

Mary Ellen Pleasant Entrepreneur Fellowship

The Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions, in partnership with a virtual mentorship platform, Mentor Spaces (previously the Whether), has launched the Mary Ellen Pleasant Entrepreneur (MEPE) Fellowship. The MEPE Fellowship aims to increase future entrepreneurs from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and is part of a $775,000 Innovations in Career Advising grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. HBCU students will have the opportunity to build a peer advising startup through a 10-week virtual fellowship during the Spring 2019 semester with the help of Mentor Spaces’ virtual business and marketing-focused curriculum and their scientifically-validated Clarity Assessment.

The Clarity Assessment is focused on sharpening the critical thinking skills of students about their post-secondary life. The fellows will be responsible for introducing the assessment on campus to professors, student organizations, and individuals. Per the grant, their main goal is to gather feedback and help their peers, while also experimenting with various business principles to maximize their reach.

The MEPE Fellowship provides fellows with an opportunity to build their own startup through a 10-week virtual fellowship during the Spring 2019 semester. Over the 10 weeks, fellows will:
  • Learn key startup principles and the components to successful and sustainable entrepreneurship
  • Participate in a virtual curriculum on marketing, the customer funnel, and the business model canvas
  • Collaborate with each other across partner institutions through periodic virtual meetings
  • Experiment with innovative techniques to assist students on campus in identifying career paths and interests early 

 The cohort of HBCUs that will host the MEPE fellowship on their campus include:

  • Albany State University
  • Benedict College
  • Bluefield State University
  • Claflin University
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Dillard University
  • Fayetteville State University
  • Jackson State University
  • Langston University
  • Morgan State University
  • North Carolina A&T University
  • North Carolina Central University
  • Paul Quinn College
  • Spelman College
  • Stillman College
  • Tennessee State University
  • Xavier University of Louisiana

Read the report about the MEPE program here