Startups

5 Organizations Helping Minority Startup Founders Succeed

Source | Entrepreneur

From the White House’s Tech Inclusion Pledge to Apple’s and Google’s annual diversity reports, players across the tech world have been expressing concern about the industry’s infamous diversity problem. According to CB Insights research in 2010, only one percent of venture capital­funded startup founders were black. Although there have been only minor pockets of progress thus far, several organizations have emerged as leaders in the effort to help minority entrepreneurs start companies, build businesses, secure funding and eventually achieve success. To highlight a few of the most prominent:

1. Techstars Foundation.

International accelerator Techstars takes a unique approach in its effort to increase representation of minority founders in the tech community. In addition to funding technology companies all over the world, it also launched a nonprofit division, the Techstars Foundation, which aims to increase representation of minority tech founders “by providing opportunities through grants, scholarships and sponsorships.” By donating cash or company stock to the foundation, Techstars’ enormous network of portfolio startups ­­ 762 startup companies, with collective total funding of more than $2 billion ­­ can make a real contribution to diversity in the tech community.

Donations are used to fund a variety of organizations that are dedicated to helping minority entrepreneurs through tangible, meaningful programs and initiatives. Current grant recipients include Change Catalyst, a nonprofit that provides minority founders with mentorship, education, and funding opportunities. By encouraging a “Give First” mindset in their startups and partners, Techstars hopes to create a ripple effect, spawning change agents who can, in turn, help more underrepresented entrepreneurs succeed.

2. CODE2040.

CODE2040 takes its name from the year when it is predicted that minorities will become the majority in the United States. It is a nonprofit organization that is aggressively pursuing its goal of having “Blacks and Latinos proportionally represented in the leading edge of America’s innovation economy as technologists, investors, thought leaders and entrepreneurs.”

In addition to a flagship Fellows Program that places promising black and Latino college­-level computer science students in internship programs at top tech companies, CODE2040 has also started a Residency Program designed to help black and Latino entrepreneurs build companies and cultivate diversity in their own communities. The one­year residency provides participating founders with a $40,000 non­equity stipend, as well as additional support from CODE2040, Google for Entrepreneurs and participating founders’ hometown tech hubs. Participants receive hub workspace for the resident and his/her team, along with mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs and investors in the CODE2040 and Google for Entrepreneurs networks.

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