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HP anticipates next generation of talent with inaugural HP HBCU Business Challenge

By HP Corporate Newsroom — December 7, 2017

Driving systemic change to increase the number of women and people of color working in the technology industry—especially in leadership roles—has long been a part of HP’s Silicon Valley legacy. Diversity and inclusion propel dynamic ingenuity at the highest levels of the company, helping HP win in the marketplace while creating lasting impact in the industry and beyond.

With diversity at our core, HP aligns our words with real actions—including embracing new, creative ways to become the employer of choice for women and underrepresented groups in technology. The HP HBCU Business Challenge is a perfect example of this. Launched earlier this year to reflect the messages in our first ad spot in the “Reinvent Mindsets” series, this new business-case competition embodies our commitment to investing in our future workforce by engaging university students capable of reinventing the landscape.

Cultivating new and diverse talent pipelines

HP partnered with the National HBCU Business Deans Roundtable to provide over 80 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with a chance to participate in the competition, which challenged participating teams to submit a written business plan and qualified them for a chance to present to HP senior leaders. 17 HCBU campuses submitted plans across two tracks—PC Services Innovation and Office Print Relevance. Throughout the challenge, student teams showcased their talent to HP executives, including the business challenge executive sponsors Bill Avey, General Manager & Global Head of Personal Systems Services, Tom Saathoff, Head of Strategy & Portfolio Management for Managed Print Services, and Darren Needham-Walker, Head of Worldwide Office Printing Solutions Marketing. Student team members also learned about internships and full-time career opportunities with HP.

What, exactly, were these students competing for? The winning teams scored visits to three HP campuses – including Boise, Vancouver and HP headquarters in Palo Alto. In addition, they will meet and present their projects to Chief Diversity Officer Lesley Slaton Brown, members of HP’s Executive Leadership team, hiring managers, and others. Teams will tour HP Labs, visit the original offices of HP Founders and the HP Garage where the company’s legacy began.

Fields Jackson, Executive Director of the National HBCU Business Deans Roundtable and CEO of Racing Toward Diversity magazine, helped bring the competition to life. He partnered with HP to enable the National HBCU Business Deans Roundtable further its primary goal: to better prepare students for the workforce while equipping them with opportunities to participate in real-world business initiatives.

“The National HBCU Business Deans Roundtable works to cultivate strategic partnerships with corporate companies like HP, providing essential tools and resources to prepare students during their university and post-graduation careers,” says Jackson. “With HP’s pioneering history in technology and passion for diversity and inclusion, it was an easy decision for the National HBCU Business Deans Roundtable to put its resounding support behind this new program.”

First place team for PC Services Innovation track: Xavier University of Louisiana

Courtesy of HP

First place team for PC Services Innovation track: Xavier University of Louisiana

Honoring the HP HBCU Business Challenge winners

At the end of November, HP announced the winners from each of the challenge tracks. Each winning team displayed new knowledge in their business plans, along with out-of-the box thinking and disruptive recommendations that could help HP drive Office Print Relevance and PC Services forward.

And the winners are:

First place team for PC Services Innovation track:  Xavier University of Louisiana

    Team members: Janelle Jones, Aaliyah Young, Cydney Stevenson, Alaina McClue

    Business Plan Submission: These students created a Device as a Service (DaaS) solution for the education vertical market, including new features that would bring more customizable technology to classrooms for teachers and students alike.

First place team for Office Print Relevance track: Delaware State University

Courtesy of HP

First place team for Office Print Relevance track: Delaware State University

First place team for Office Print Relevance track: Delaware State University

Team members: Kyron Bonner, Nyla Obey, Emma Pollock, Justin Thompson, Nicholas Henry

Business Plan Submission: This team developed a plan for an HP Smart Printer to make printing relevant for millennial decision makers, including enhancements to make it dynamic, intelligent, simple and secure. 

At the end of the three month challenge, participants emphasized the importance of this growth opportunity. HP executives provided mentorship throughout the process, and were impressed with how the teams performed.

“As an executive sponsor of the HP HBCU Business Challenge, the journey was transformative for the students as well as the HP employees who participated,” says Bill Avey. “We can’t wait to continue with this challenge in the years to come—not only because it allows us to connect with university talent, but because it helps HP cultivate our hiring pipeline on our reinvention journey.”

HP constantly looks for new, creative ways to build diverse talent pipelines across industries. We want everyone, everywhere to know that HP is hiring—and that talent is our only criteria. The HP HBCU Business Challenge demonstrated progress toward accomplishing this goal, inspiring tomorrow’s leaders along the way.