The Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation at Christian Brothers University is a resource for you. Whether you are a student, a CBU alumni or a business owner in the 800 Initiative we are here to provide programs, mentorship and networks to improve your entrepreneurial journey.

The world of work is changing faster than ever. Every day, the global community becomes more connected, technology takes quantum leaps forward, and people rethink the meaning of career success. The businesses and future leaders of Memphis need fresh ideas and unique skills to survive and thrive in this new world. This is what CBU’s Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation provides.

Events & Programs

The Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation focuses its events and programs around mentorship – both for the community and our students. As we grow, we add new methods of mentorship all of the time! Visit our events & programs page below to learn more about our current, ongoing offerings.


Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization

Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Logo

The Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization is a national organization that provides benefits and resources to student entrepreneurs that they can use to kick-start their businesses or help further develop them, at CBU we have a chapter of our very own that is student-led and sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation.

Check out some benefits to joining CEO:

  • Open to all majors and years
    • Free benefits and resources
      • Leadership experience through executive team
        • Access to Global Pitch Conference
          • Connect with entrepreneurs & real investors
            • Host events on campus to raise awareness of club & encourage entrepreneurship

Contact the current President of CEO at CBU, Perla Lopez –

Follow CEO on Instagram: @CEOCBU

The 800 Initiative

CBU sits at the center of a public-private partnership to support businesses owned by people of color through programs, funding, and new innovations. Initiated in 2018, The 800 Initiative has helped hundreds of firms even through the pandemic thanks to partners Start Co., Epicenter, FedEx, City of Memphis, Shelby County Government, and the Kresge Foundation.

The 800 Initiative started with the City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s desire to begin better addressing the disparity in the number of black businesses with paid employees compared to their white business counterparts.  At the time there were 40,000 black firms but only 800 had paid employees; those 800 were generating $500M in local sales receipts out of $36.5B.  The goal of the initiative was to grow the number of black businesses with paid employees and to increase their revenue.

The Covid-19 Pandemic shifted the focus of the 800 Initiative from growth to survival, and this began the partners of the initiative to begin strategizing more innovative solutions to deal with the massive need and challenges of new resources coming online and the lack of scale capabilities.

Today the 800 Initiative is still providing programs, funding, and resources but doing so in a way that contributes to a vision of better understanding the journey of these firms, the gaps that exist along the way, and helping them fill those gaps not just by direct resource provision but by better educating the business owner themselves on how to solve the journey themselves.  Currently the 800 Initiative is conducting research and analysis through regional data exploration and the building of software to better assess the current state of a firm and the needed journey to navigate.

As a result, new partners have joined the initiative like Heartland Forward, Amazon Web Services, the Black Business Association, the Greater Memphis Chamber, and the Downtown Memphis Commission.

Starfish Solutions


Follow us on social media to stay up to date with our events and programs.