Quinnipiac alumni receive major boost from ConnCORP / QU grant

November 01, 2022

Four men speak in a classroom

Royal Roots Solutions, a New Haven-based business founded by Hamden residents and Quinnipiac alumni Caysi Morgan ’20, MBA ’21, and Jovan Lomax ’21, MBA ’22, celebrated its one-year concept anniversary last month.

The trucking company recently received a major boost when Royal Roots Solutions was named to the first cohort of the ConnCORP/Quinnipiac University Community Entrepreneurship Academy and Clinic.

The business is in its final developmental phase and is in the process of acquiring a fleet of trucks. However, the business’ aspirations go well beyond hauling freights.

Morgan, who serves as Royal Roots Solutions CEO, and Lomax, the company’s president, have pledged to give back a percentage of their annual revenue to organizations in Connecticut that are taking ownership and investing in their communities.

“We are creating programs and initiatives to promote awareness and understanding of contemporary issues in minority communities,” Lomax said. “This includes, but is not limited to social justice impact, Black mental health, community engagement, Black entrepreneurship, Black equity in the cannabis industry and restorative justice.”

Royal Roots was one of 19 businesses named to the first cohort of the Community Entrepreneurship Academy and Clinic. The CEAC program was developed to accelerate the success of small businesses and minority entrepreneurs in the greater New Haven area. The initiative is being funded by a $406,000 grant Quinnipiac received from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“For us, this opportunity means everything and then some,” Morgan said. “It is an honor to work with ConnCORP, which has focused on stimulating growth in underserved communities, and to also work with Quinnipiac University, our alma mater. As lifelong Hamden residents and Quinnipiac alumni, it is also our privilege to be able to contribute to growth in the same spaces we experienced a lot of personal development in ourselves.”

The 14-week program will use a blended format of both in-person workshops and virtual coaching. Quinnipiac faculty from across its nine schools will serve as teachers, coaches and mentors. The Lab at ConnCORP, the organization’s business incubator, is planned to be the location for the in-person workshops and virtual business clinic for the program.

Morgan and Lomax say they believe the Entrepreneurship Academy and Clinic will give their Royal Roots Solutions a jolt of energy.

“One of our main goals for attending this program is the formation of a business plan for an expansion into renewable energy solutions,” Morgan said. “This expansion would be focused on creating jobs, promoting energy-efficient solutions and investing into the welfare of disproportionately disadvantaged communities.”

Royal Roots' secondary goal, with its inclusion into the CEAC cohort, is to network with a wider audience of elite professionals who will help the trucking enterprise connect with various industries, ranging from green technology to logistics, while also getting the support of state-level agencies, Morgan added.

“We are very excited to welcome the first 19 minority-owned businesses from the Greater New Haven area to the ConnCORP/Quinnipiac University Community Entrepreneurship Academy and Clinic,” said Tuvana Rua, an associate professor of management at Quinnipiac who is serving as director of the program. “The first cohort will go through a rigorous and transformational program. They will receive a tremendous amount of support from Quinnipiac faculty and students in key areas to help with their stability and growth.”

Erik Clemons, CEO of ConnCORP, congratulated all the entrepreneurs selected for the program.

“This is an opportunity for them to lay the first bricks of a foundation towards building sustainable success and long-term wealth generation,” Clemons said. “I want to also thank Quinnipiac University for its vital resources and trusted partnership in this endeavor. We are in the business of creating success and wealth in our community and CEAC will be a benefit to minority small business owners within this cohort and those that will come after it.”

Debra Liebowitz, provost and chief academic officer at Quinnipiac University, spoke to the strengths of the program.

“This program draws on the core strengths of academic innovation and entrepreneurship of our academic work,” Liebowitz stated. “While providing meaningful opportunities for students to make a difference by fueling entrepreneurship among minority-owned small businesses.”

Along with Royal Roots Solutions, the other business selected for the first cohort include Bloom, Waterfront Rentals, Crimson World Travel, Asantewaa Fitness and Wellness, Kimberly Consulting Inc., Mental Growth & Internal Healing, LLC; Ekow Body; Plant and Tea, Noir Vintage & Co., Caribbean Home-Style Products LLC., Sankofa Interior Design and Professional Organizing, LLC, Unique Mobile Notary Services, Blush Beauty & Wellness, Elle dot Kay LLC, Chef Sils Vegan Kitchen, Love Vegan Bakery, Try This Pie and CheB.

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