DOVER — State and local leaders gathered Tuesday at Delaware State University to announce a $1 million grant from Congress to support a partnership between the university and Dover’s branch of the National Council on Agricultural Life & Labor Research Fund to build a Center for Urban Revitalization and Entrepreneurship.
For the school’s president, Dr. Tony Allen, this announcement represents a special moment for the university and its community to come together and build something new on its downtown campus.
“We are so proud to be expanding downtown, building capacity for what we know will be an extraordinary revitalization, a renaissance for this state. These things don’t happen by accident,” he said. “You have to really care about this grand institution. Everybody here — faculty, staff, students — have to continually lift their head up and think about the business of not only providing world-class, quality education but being exceptional citizens in the community we all live in.”
Also attending the event were NCALL executive director Karen Speakman; Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del.; Dover Mayor Robin R. Christiansen; and Dr. Michael H. Casson, dean of the university’s College of Business. Dover businesswoman Tina Hudson-Beamer, owner of Tina’s Timeless Threads, also spoke.
Rep. Blunt Rochester emphasized that the new center — described as a $2.2 million “small-business incubator” — will address the social challenges in Dover and its locale by offering support and resources to local entrepreneurs.
“We are announcing a $1 million investment in our communities from the federal government and from Congress and from our president, Joe Biden, and from all of you,” she said. “It is the Center for Urban Revitalization and Entrepreneurship, CURE. I love that — because that’s what this is really about. It is really about curing our communities, our families, our state.”
Additionally, she noted the center’s potential role as a driver of economic growth, generational wealth and a tool of crime reduction in the capital city.
“When I think of this, I think of the cure for someone to be able to live their purpose and have their own small business and be an entrepreneur. That’s what this center is about. I think of the cure for crime and reduction of crime because when people have a purpose and a passion and some way to make their pocketbooks fuller, or their pocket, that can help us in reducing crime,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester.
“But more importantly, I think about building generational wealth. That the investment that we’re making today is a seed that will bloom and blossom for generations to come, so that when a family member can start a business, it’s not just for them as an individual. It’s for their child to make sure that they can live in a home and that they can go to school and that they can then multiply that seed tenfold.”