Mastercard Supports HBCU Smart Cities Challenge

Mastercard ranked No. 2 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.


Mastercard supports the HBCU Smart Cities Challenge, which encourages student developers, entrepreneurs, designers and engineers at the nation’s 107 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to build smart city applications.

The applications are built to solve challenges including air quality, traffic, public transit, food access and waste management.

Sina Ndhlovu, Arnold Bhebhe and Robert Mukuchura developed a proof of concept for a platform that helps give first responders timely and relevant information to help them make smart decisions faster. The platform could help fortify trust in communities where faith in first responders, including police officers, may be lacking.

The three computer science students — Ndhlovu at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh and Bhebhe and Mukuchura at Alabama State University — developed their idea from a natural gas explosion in Durham, North Carolina.

The challenge was developed by Pathway OZ, an organization that connects the innovative power of HBCUs to the potential of Opportunity Zones, which offer tax breaks for investment to spur economic growth and job creation.

“HBCUs have always been the anchor of a lot of African-American communities, so it’s only right to tap into the existing intellectual capital that’s there and them at the center of these solutions,” says Kevin Fomengia, Co-founder and Director of Innovation at Pathway OZ. “We truly believe we have all the solutions in our backyard.”



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