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NC minority business development advocate Andrea Harris dies
Co-founder of entrepreneur institute
Published Saturday, May 30, 2020 3:26 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

Andrea Harris, founder of the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development, died May 20.

Andrea Harris, who championed black-owned business in North Carolina, died May 20.

Miss Harris, founder of the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development in 1986, led the Durham-based organization for as an advocate for marginalized and disenfranchised communities and entrepreneurs through policy, education and opportunities.

“We stand on her shoulders and will honor her legacy by tirelessly continuing her work, serving those who are marginalized and/or face unnecessary challenges and barriers limiting the ability of living their best life,” said NCIMED President Kevin Price.

Gov. Roy Cooper praised Miss Harris’ advocacy for equal opportunities for black business through programs and partnerships in the public and private sector, which resulted in more than $1 billion in awards to minority-owned businesses.

“Andrea Harris was a trailblazer who never stopped fighting for social and racial equity in our state. When doors were intentionally shut, she broke through for women and minority-owned businesses to succeed, modeled excellence in advocacy and mentored scores of freedom fighters,” he said. “She left an indelible impact on North Carolina’s business and African American communities, and she will be missed.”

“She was dedicated to uplifting minority-owned businesses and reminded us that we, as a people, could be successful given access and opportunity,” said N.C. Sen. Valerie Foushee, chair of the North Carolina Black Alliance. “Through her work as president of the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development, Ms. Harris helped to facilitate over $1 billion in awards to minority businesses, resulting in a stronger economy for us all.”

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams recalled Miss Harris as an advocate for education as well as entrepreneurship and erasing economic disparities.

“[Former Durham] Mayor Bill Bell once called her the ‘mother of minority enterprise,’ but even that doesn’t begin to describe her contributions to our state,” Adams said. “I’ll remember her as a Bennett Belle and a strong advocate for HBCUs, a champion for black businesses, and as one of the first persons in our state focused on building wealth in minority communities; but most of all, I’ll remember her as a faithful friend and mentor.”

Said Foushee: “She has given us the blueprint; it is now our responsibility to build upon that foundation.”


We will miss her advocacy for the sustainability of HBCUs.
Posted on June 2, 2020

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