Ally executives and student participants celebrate the culmination of Moguls in the Making 2021.

Seven minutes to present, three to answer the judges’ questions – just 10 minutes and a lifetime of passion stood between this year’s student participants and their opportunity to earn a scholarship and Ally internship.

For three days students from10 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs worked toward one pivotal moment: Moguls in the Making pitches, where participants present their business plans to Ally executives.

At the end, a team from North Carolina A&T State University was declared the winner, but everyone walked away with the experience of a lifetime.

In fact, this year’s participants were so impressive that, in the last minutes of deliberations, Ally decided to double the prizes offered – making the scholarship total for each winner $20,000 – and extend scholarships to all. Additionally, Revolt Media – the company documenting the event for a future, long form, video – offered every student the opportunity to come onboard at their company as production assistants.

The Making of Moguls

In 2019 Ally launched a new entrepreneurship competition, Moguls in the Making. In collaboration with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Sean Anderson Foundation, the program was an opportunity to help foster a better way forward for young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs from our nation’s publicly supported historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Each year, the program brings groups of students together for three days for immersion sessions on business, entrepreneurship, inspiration and networking while they work to develop a business concept. The program culminates in a pitch competition where students present their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win a scholarship and internship opportunities.

Learn more: Moguls and The Making of Fintropolis.

Three Days of Work

On September 17th the ten selected teams of five members each set up their cameras and workstations, clicked ‘Join’ on their Zoom meeting and became part of the third annual Moguls in the Making competition.

Over the next 72 hours, teams were guided by Ally mentors and team coaches, and had the opportunity to use industry mentors as a resource on their business topic. In addition to working on their pitches, the young entrepreneurs attended various workshops on designing business models or pitching 101, as well as inspiration sessions with experienced entrepreneurs and professionals, including special appearances by multi-platinum artist, entrepreneur and philanthropist Big Sean as well as actor/entertainer and HBCU alumnus, Terrence J.

Game Time: Participant Presentations

You could feel the energy growing. The students, miles away, pushing away nerves and making last minute adjustments; the Ally team collectively holding their breath in excitement and anticipation.

The first team appeared on screen, the clock started and it was game time.

From beginning to end the level of passion and strategic thinking demonstrated by the students was undeniable. Throughout the presentations you could hear Ally employees, event coaches and executives spontaneously clap or whisper, “Good job!” “That is genius.” or “You go!” These weren’t just expressions of pride, but hope. Hope for change, hope for equality, hope for the future.

Solutions to housing inequities, education gaps and health care equality were just a few of the incredible ideas brought to life through this year’s young entrepreneurs, and every idea was so impressive that the judges felt moved to award every participant with a scholarship and doubled the existing prize offerings.

And the Winner Is…

At the beginning of the competition, each team was assigned an area of focus ranging from healthcare to real estate. After watching the students from North Carolina A&T State University present, it seemed they were destined to receive the assignment of energy.

North Carolina A&T State University Team: Claudia Duverglas, Darren Rippy, Joshua Weaver, Kameran Harris, Lance Davis
North Carolina A&T State University Team: Claudia Duverglas, Darren Rippy, Joshua Weaver, Kameran Harris, Lance Davis

North Carolina A&T opened their presentation with one of their team members sharing a moving story of having to use the stove as a heater and candles as light to study by because of an inability to pay high electric bills. It was this experience that fueled him and his team members to create Recharge, a new way to generate power locally to lower electric bills for residents in low-income neighborhoods by developing local parks designed to capture, store and harvest renewable energy that can then be then transferred to useable energy for those in the community.

Dr. Harry L. Williams, President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund described the impact of the program this year: “Moguls in the Making is a necessary initiative that is helping to bridge the racial wealth gap and support high achieving students by creating pathways to economic mobility and lucrative job opportunities.”

Learn More About Moguls in the Making