Meet The Spelman Grad Supporting The Next Generation of HBCU Founders

Now in its third year, Nex Cubed has made a name for itself investing in underrepresented founders in the digital health, edtech, property technology, and fintech spaces. 

In fact, the latest Nex Cubed digital health accelerator cohort had all minority and immigrant founders, and 50% of its current portfolio companies have female or minority founders.

The program is now focused on supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs graduating from HBCUs across the country. And it has tapped an HBCU grad with Atlanta roots to lead the effort. 

Jade Lockard

Jade Lockard, Spelman Class of 2020, is no stranger to the startup community. She got the entrepreneurial itch during a college hackathon, which helped launch her first venture. 

As she worked to get her own startup off the ground, Lockard said she found a passion for “changing the way that Black people navigate startups and take ownership in tech. There are just so many disparities.”

Now the program manager for Nex Cubed’s HBCU Founders Program, Lockard is working to address these disparities. As program manager, Lockard connects students and alumni to the Founder Program’s ongoing virtual programming and upcoming summer accelerator. 

Now in its inaugural year, the HBCU Founders Program has focused on reaching as many HBCU students as possible. To date, 300 students representing 50 HBCUs have participated in programming through webinars and virtual discussions focused on providing the financial and advisory resources necessary to develop technology-enabled businesses.

“I see myself in these students’ shoes. I was a startup founder with little resources, trying to navigate the space,” Lockard added. “I can’t imagine where we would have been had we had that classroom experience.” 

Nex Cubed is right to turn its focus to HBCU students and recent grads. Morehouse graduates Dr. Paul Judge, Shawn Wilkinson, Scooter Taylor, and Chidiebere Kalu have founded some of the most influential tech startups in security, cryptocurrency, and the e-commerce world. And Howard University School of Business is known for turning out strong founders each year.  

But Lockard recognizes that not all HBCUs have on-campus support for budding entrepreneurs, making the Founders Program even more important in order to reach students from a wide variety of geographies and backgrounds. 

Applications will open in early 2021 for the summer accelerator. In the meantime, students are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming virtual events. 

Some of the Founders Program’s upcoming webinars include: 

  • Digital Health & Wellness Webinar on December 3. Registration here.
  • PropTech Webinar on December 10. Registration here.

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