Unum and The Company Lab launch Historically Black Colleges and Universities Innovation Challenge

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Aug. 26, 2019) – Employee benefits provider Unum (NYSE: UNM) and The Company Lab (CO.LAB) are partnering to host the 2019 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Innovation Challenge. The challenge invites juniors and seniors from HBCUs to work together to solve a real-world challenge facing the insurance industry, while exploring career opportunities at Unum.


The HBCU Challenge will recruit 32 undergraduate students from HBCUs within 250 miles of Unum’s home office locations in Baton Rouge, La.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Columbia, S.C. Selected students will participate in a two-day innovation case competition hosted at Unum’s headquarters in Chattanooga Oct. 24-25.


“This program gives high-performing, talented students the opportunity to solve real business problems, while gaining exposure to the employee benefits industry,” said Wade Hinton, vice president of Inclusion and Diversity at Unum. “It’s also a great way for us to identify potential talent.”


CO.LAB has organized several fast-paced competitions focused on building talent pipelines. Last March, the organization partnered with local startup FreightWaves to produce a case competition that brought college students from supply chain programs across the country, with intentions to connect with the region’s leading freight and logistics startups.


“We’re excited to combine our talent development experience with Unum’s leadership and knowledge in their field,” said Marcus Shaw, chief executive officer of CO.LAB. “I believe by the end of the event we will see students not only take away a great learning experience but also new relationships that could impact their career trajectory.”


Students selected to join the challenge have the chance to gain recognition and win cash prizes including $5,000 for the first-place team, $3,000 for the second-place team and $1,500 for the third-place team. Students interested in participating can apply at www.colab.co/events/unumhbcuchallenge. Nominations are open now through Sept. 13.


This event marks the second collaboration this year between Unum and CO.LAB. This spring, in partnership with Unum and Erlanger, CO.LAB launched its inaugural HealthTech Accelerator focused on connecting emerging healthcare startups with leaders in the healthcare and employee benefits industries.

About Unum Group

Unum (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for more than 170 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2021, Unum reported revenues of $12.0 billion and paid $8.2 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2022 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®.


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