Washington, DC - Today, President Obama will host the first-ever White House Demo Day focused on inclusive entrepreneurship, welcoming startup founders from diverse walks of life and from across the country to showcase their innovations. The President will announce new public- and private-sector commitments that promise to provide more Americans with the opportunity to pursue their bold, game-changing ideas.
America’s entrepreneurial economy is the envy of the world. But, we need to do more to make sure that we are tapping our full entrepreneurial potential – drawing on talented Americans from all backgrounds and locations.
Just three percent of America’s venture capital-backed startups are led by women, and only around one percent are led by African-Americans. At present, only about four percent of U.S.-based venture capital investors are women. And, capital for innovative startups is predominantly available in just a few places, making high-growth business creation a challenge outside of a handful of metro hubs.
To maintain our lead as the best place on the planet to start and scale a great company, we must ensure that vibrant startup ecosystems emerge in every corner of America, and that all Americans, including those underrepresented in entrepreneurship like women and people of color, are both encouraged and able to fully contribute their entrepreneurial talents.
The Administration announcements being made today include, among others:
- Announcing 116 winners of two Small Business Administration prizes that promise to unleash entrepreneurship in communities across the country: the Growth Accelerator Fund for startup accelerators, incubators, and other entrepreneurial ecosystems; and the President’s “Startup in a Day” initiative that will empower mayors to cut red tape for local entrepreneurs.
- Scaling up the National Science Foundation I-Corps program with eight new and expanded Federal agency partnerships, introducing hundreds of entrepreneurial scientist teams across the country to a rigorous process for moving their discoveries out of the lab and into the marketplace.
The independent commitments being announced today include, among others:
- Expanding the response to the President’s TechHire initiative with 10 new cities and states working with employer partners on new ways to recruit and place applicants based on their skills, create more accelerated tech training opportunities, and invest in innovative placement programs to connect trained workers with entrepreneurial opportunities and well-paying jobs.
- Over 40 leading venture capital firms with over $100 billion under management, including Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and Scale Venture Partners, committing to specific actions that advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Institutional investors committing over $11 billion to emerging managers, including CalPERS and the New York City Pension Funds.
- Over 100 engineering deans committing to attract and retain a diverse student body, building the pipeline for the next generation of American engineers and entrepreneurs.
- Over a dozen major technology companies announcing new actions to ensure diverse recruitment and hiring, including Amazon, Box, Microsoft, Xerox, and others committing to adopt variations on the “Rooney Rule” to consider diverse candidates for senior executive positions.
Details on White House Demo Day
At a typical Demo Day, entrepreneurs make pitches to prospective funders. White House Demo Day is a little different. A diverse group of entrepreneurs from all across the country – including those underrepresented in entrepreneurship like women and people of color – will come to the White House to “demo” the stories of their individual innovation journeys to date. These stories exemplify how we can “grow the pie” by including all Americans in our innovation economy.
White House Demo Day will feature over 30 startup teams exhibiting at the White House. The President will personally meet some of these entrepreneurs and view their exhibits, which will range from early-stage technologies to growth-stage consumer products. The President will also deliver remarks to the entrepreneurs, along with invited private-sector leaders, on the importance of inclusive entrepreneurship to our Nation’s economy.
White House Demo Day is part of the President’s Startup America initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the Nation. Next year, the White House will report on progress made toward the inclusive entrepreneurship goals and best practices announced today.
Additional information on the companies and entrepreneurs recognized at White House Demo Day can be found here.
New Steps Being Taken by the Administration
Today, the White House is announcing major new steps to promote inclusive entrepreneurship and innovation across the United States – including actions that will build the tech talent pipeline, cut red tape, and accelerate research discoveries from the lab to the marketplace. Each of these actions promises to expand opportunities for current and future entrepreneurs, including those in underrepresented communities and geographies. Key actions include:
- Announcing the winners of multiple Small Business Administration entrepreneurship competitions and launching new resources. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is working with leaders around the country – both in the private sector and in government – to foster innovation in local startup ecosystems and give more entrepreneurs the tools that they need to succeed.
- Through its Growth Accelerator Fund competition, the SBA is announcing total awards of $4.4 million to 88 startup accelerators, including those that fill geographic gaps and also foster entrepreneurship among women and other underrepresented groups. Awardees represent 39 states, plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico, and eight awards are primarily dedicated to Native American entrepreneurs and small businesses. For details on the Growth Accelerator Fund winners, click here.
- As part of the Startup in a Day initiative announced by the President earlier this year, the SBA is announcing 27 prizes of $50,000 each to cities and Native American communities to help them streamline the licensing, permitting, and other requirements needed to start a business in their areas, with the goal of enabling entrepreneurs to apply for everything necessary to begin within one business day. The SBA is also awarding a $250,000 cash prize to the city of Los Angeles to create an open-source solution that will be replicable and scalable on a broad basis. For details on the Startup in a Day winners, click here.
- Building off the success of the first InnovateHER Women’s Business Challenge earlier this year, SBA is expanding this initiative to more than double the number of local competitions designed to identify products and services that have measurable impacts on the lives of women and families, have potential for commercialization, and fill a need in the marketplace. Given that only around three percent of venture capitalists are women, but women make up over 80 percent of U.S. purchasing power, this expanded Challenge promises to provide a platform for innovations that are often overlooked. As part of this expansion, Microsoft will more than double the prizes awarded. For more details, click here.
- The SBA is releasing the Business Smart Toolkit, a ready-to-use workshop toolkit developed with the National Association for Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL), which will help lay the groundwork for assisting new and aspiring entrepreneurs in building credit-ready businesses. The SBA/NAGGL partnership also includes more than 10 national organizations that will help deploy the modules through workshops across local communities. For more details, click here.
- Scaling up a rigorous entrepreneurship training program developed by the National Science Foundation. The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, first launched in 2011 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), provides entrepreneurship training for NSF-funded scientists and engineers, pairing them with business mentors for an intensive curriculum focused on discovering a truly demand-driven path from their lab work to a marketable product. Over 500 teams have completed the curriculum, which is based on the “Lean Launchpad” model developed by serial entrepreneur Steve Blank. This has resulted in the creation of over 260 companies that have collectively raised more than $40 million in funding from outside sources. By expanding the reach of I-Corps – including through its first statewide collaboration with Ohio (I-Corps@Ohio), announced earlier this summer – NSF and its partners both within and outside the Administration are committed to tapping into diverse talent across the country. In addition to existing I-Corps partnerships between NSF and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), new expansions of I-Corps announced today include:
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is expanding its I-Corps program to accelerate the commercialization of biomedical technologies developed with Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) / Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding. The expanded I-Corps program at NIH will train life-sciences entrepreneur project teams receiving funding from 12 institutes and centers at the NIH and the Centers for Disease Control.
- The NIH will apply the I-Corps teaching methodology to the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). By training new I-Corps educators and researchers at 10 CTSA institutions, who in turn can provide entrepreneurship training for other translational scientists, the I-Corps at the CTSA program will prepare participants to identify and develop valuable commercial opportunities that emerge from the research setting, with the intent of moving discoveries more quickly into treatments and cures.
- The Department of Defense (DOD) will launch a new commercialization pilot program with NSF later this year for DOD-funded academic researchers. The program, which will be based on the I-Corps model, will be open to academic principal investigators, along with one member of their respective research groups, who are receiving grants from highly competitive DOD research programs such as DOD’s National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (NSSEFF). The pilot will help bridge the gap between basic research innovations funded by DOD and the commercialization of new products by providing entrepreneurial training to participants, thereby helping bring non-traditional suppliers to the defense marketplace.
- The National Security Agency (NSA) will create a version of the I-Corps curriculum specific to the Intelligence Community (IC), running NSA teams through the modified course and expanding training to at least three other IC partners.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and NSF are launching a pilot program, I-Corps@ARS, to train and encourage agency scientists in entrepreneurship. This program will serve as a model for researchers in government-owned and -operated laboratories across Federal agencies.
- The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will partner with NSF to provide entrepreneurship training to grantees under an Innovation Food, Agriculture, Science and Technology (I-FAST) Pilot Program in order to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from NIFA-supported academic research.
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program will begin sending awardee entrepreneurs through I-Corps training this fall, to help them develop stronger business models and products/services that are market-viable.
- The SBA is partnering with NSF to adapt the I-Corps program for “Main Street” small businesses, utilizing the insights of “lean startup” methodology that challenge conventional notions of business-model planning. Through this new partnership, the SBA plans to issue a challenge this fall for its resource partners – including Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE chapters – for an I-Corps “Train-the-Trainer” program. These partners will leverage their training to adapt and deliver, on a pilot basis, a lean-startup training curriculum to small businesses and entrepreneurs in traditional sectors.
- Engaging a diverse array of students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs and the National Laboratories. Through its Minority Energy Internship Summer Partnership Program, the DOE is committing to training 100 undergraduate and graduate students in technology transfer and entrepreneurship, including students from minority-serving institutions, over the next three years. DOE will also launch an annual My Brother’s Keeper “National Lab Week” at all 17 DOE National Labs, with the goal of exposing at least 1,000 young people from all backgrounds to careers in STEM and technology commercialization.
- Fostering local entrepreneurship through the Regional Innovation Strategies program. The Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is launching a new $10 million funding opportunity for the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program, which provides grants to state and local governments, nonprofits, universities, and other organizations to help build capacity for entrepreneurs seeking to turn ideas into job-creating companies and help young companies attract and obtain much-needed capital. This program will now allow applicants to receive additional consideration for creating specific plans to reach out to underserved populations and communities in order to serve entrepreneurs of all backgrounds. The EDA will also fund the creation of a “What Works Playbook” – as both an online reference resource and a dynamic planning tool – that will empower community leaders to create plans that recognize and complement the strengths and weaknesses of their respective communities, while drawing on proven programs and techniques achieve community objectives. Successful strategies that attract and engage underrepresented populations throughout each community will be a critical element of the playbook, as will a national convening of people and organizations building capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship in their communities.
- Unlocking the potential of Federal inventions with entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is partnering with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to launch the Minority Business Enterprise Technology Transfer Initiative, focusing on the creation of regional innovation ecosystems related to approximately 300 Federal labs at 11 agencies. This initiative will help equip aspiring and established technology entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds with the skills needed to bring innovative products and services to market.
- Providing free legal assistance for innovators in all 50 states. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is announcing that its Patent Pro Bono Program, which provides free legal assistance to under-resourced inventors in securing patent protection for their inventions, will now extend to all 50 states. The Pro Bono Program joins the growing range of initiatives that make the USPTO’s services more available to a broader range of entrepreneurs. These initiatives include discounted fees for small and micro entities, the Pro Se Assistance Program for inventors who file patent applications without the assistance of a patent attorney, and the opening of USPTO regional offices.
- Encouraging partnerships between big companies and growing startups. In conjunction with White House Demo Day, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker yesterday convened the Commerce Department’s first “Open for Innovation” event, at which more than 80 startups met with large firms to discuss how to solve their business challenges with innovations from new companies. The Commerce Department will catalyze additional actions and activities around this theme throughout the remainder of the Administration.
These new actions build on earlier, ongoing Administration commitments to foster inclusive entrepreneurship across the country. Important recent examples include:
- The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) was created through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 which provided $1.5 billion to strengthen state programs that support lending to small businesses and small manufacturers. Administered by the Treasury Department, SSBCI has catalyzed over $6.4 billion in public and leveraged private capital resulted in new loans and investments to more than 12,400 businesses all across the country. To date, business owners report more than 140,000 jobs will be created or retained due to the new loans and investments stimulated by SSBCI funds. More than half of all SSBCI loans or investments went to young businesses less than five years old, 80 percent of SSBCI-supported loans or investments went to businesses with 10 employees or fewer, and over 40 percent of the loans or investments were in low- or moderate-income communities. The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget includes a proposal to reauthorize the SSBCI, with a renewed focus on promoting inclusive entrepreneurship and strengthening regional startup communities.
- The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs annually provide over $2.5 billion in funding to small advanced-technology firms to spur new technological discoveries and facilitate the commercialization of these innovations. Together they represent “America’s Largest Seed Fund.” Through the SBIR Road Tour, local-innovation supporters in communities that have historically underutilized SBIR/STTR opportunities have invited Federal-agency representatives of America’s Largest Seed Fund to engage the small advanced-technology community, including women- and minority-owned research and development businesses.
Expanding TechHire to 10 New Cities and States
Mayors, governors, businesses, and others across the country are halfway to the goal the President set in June at the U.S. Conference of Mayors to double the number of TechHire cities and states to reach 40 by the end of this year. TechHire is a bold multisector effort to empower Americans with the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy. The effort includes engagement through universities and community colleges; innovative nontraditional approaches like “coding bootcamps;” and high-quality online courses that can rapidly train workers for technology jobs that pay 50 percent more than the average private-sector American job.
10 new TechHire cities and states – Akron, Ohio; Birmingham, Alabama; Cincinnati, Ohio; Lynchburg, Virginia; the State of Maine; New Orleans, Louisiana; Oakland, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the State of Rhode Island; and San Jose, California – are making independent commitments to make sure that applicants can find work based on their skills and not just their degree, to create more accelerated tech training opportunities, and to invest in innovative placement programs to connect diverse workers including women, minorities, Veterans, and at risk and disconnected young adults with entrepreneurial opportunities and jobs.
Examples of new TechHire city and state commitments include:
- Nine Maine employers including WEX, IDEXX Laboratories, MaineHealth/Maine Medical Center, and Tyler Technologies are committing to recruit and hire candidates based on their demonstrated technology skills regardless of where they gained them. In addition, over 20 employers have projected that they will hire 140 paid interns in 2015. Maine has begun designing an accelerated, competency-based “Foundations of IT” bootcamp to assist non-traditional candidates across the state in preparing for paid internships.
- ·Rhode Island has assembled 18 employers, including CVS, Citizens Bank, Fidelity, and Innovex, to recruit over 2,000 candidates from fast-track tech training programs by 2018. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Commerce RI, and Opportunity@Work are working with Tech Collective to develop Rhode Island’s IT workforce pipeline and train individuals through bootcamp-style IT training programs, with a focus on low-income community members.
- San Jose, CA, in partnership with work2future, Year Up, #YesWeCode, Santa Clara Opportunity Youth Partnership, McKinsey Social Initiative, and Foothill College, will launch a new fast-track training program for occupations, including software programing and network administration, in the information and communications technology, manufacturing, and health sectors. With an initial $1.2 million investment from the city, SJ TechHire will target young adults and long-term unemployed individuals, aiming to train 1,000 people and diversify the pool of local tech talent by 2016. Employers that have committed to support the initiative include eBay Inc., Facebook, Inc. Symantec Corporation, Jabil, Kaiser, and others.
Private organizations are supporting TechHire strategies in their own ways, and the Administration is stepping up alongside them. New actions from these organizations include:
- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing the launch of its Accelerated Learning Programs pilot. VA is now inviting transitioning Service members and Veterans from all eras to apply for seven no-cost Accelerated Learning Program pilots in information technology (IT) this summer. This fiscal year, $5 million will be available for the programs, which will build on the training and technical skills gained by participants while in the military services, provide certification opportunities, and prepare program graduates to begin or advance in a high-demand careers in IT.
- Codecademy will host in-person meet-ups for 600 students from disadvantaged women and minority groups over a period of 12 months. Expert staff from Codecademy will teach students how they can benefit from programming skills, provide an overview of popular coding skills, and provide guidance on resources to pursue technical job opportunities.
- In partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), Coursera will offer every Veteran one free course certificate in a career-relevant course, such as data science or cybersecurity. These courses can be accessed online, or at any one of the 27 in-person VA Learning Hubs that will launch this year in partnership with the American Red Cross and The Mission Continues.
- Galvanize, an education company focused on data science, web development and entrepreneurship, and IBM are announcing a new partnership to support women in data science and data engineering. IBM will provide support to female participants in Galvanize programs including tuition assistance, mentorship, internships and employment opportunities.
- Pluralsight is launching a $20 million in-kind philanthropic initiative to provide their most in-demand online tech courses to unemployed individuals at no cost.
- Sabio.la, a Los Angeles-based training provider that serves disadvantaged minorities and women, will create a web-development curriculum specifically targeted at underserved communities. Sabio.la will also establish a Women of Color Fellowship Fund that will give at least 100 women access to Sabio.la’s 12-week coding bootcamp, job-interview prep, and ongoing professional development after completion of the program.
For more details on TechHire, click here.
Industry-Wide Commitments to Tap America’s Full Entrepreneurial Potential
Today, companies, universities, non-profits, and other organizations are demonstrating new leadership in fostering inclusive entrepreneurship. From building a diverse talent pipeline, to establishing to greater workforce data transparency, to putting in place best practices in human resources, a range of new independent commitments will help identify and empower entrepreneurial talent across the country.
- Venture capital firms are committing to foster inclusive entrepreneurship and economic opportunity. Andreessen Horowitz, GE Ventures, Greenspring Associates, Insight Venture Partners, Intel Capital, JumpStart Inc., Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, New Enterprise Associates, Polaris Partners, Scale Venture Partners, and True Ventures are among over 40 venture capital firms – which collectively hold over $112 billion in assets under management invested in nearly 7,000 startups – that have signed a letter through the National Venture Capital Association outlining their commitments to both near- and long-term solutions to advancing opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Today, these firms are committing to participate in an industry survey which will track diversity both at individual venture capital firms as well as at their portfolio companies. The results of the survey will be made public. In addition, these firms are pledging to adopt HR policies and initiatives that encourage underrepresented groups such as women and minorities to pursue and thrive in careers in venture-capital and entrepreneurship. These firms will also show visible leadership by regularly sharing best practices that demonstrate long-term commitment to change. For more details, click here.
Specific examples of these commitments include the following new actions:
- Greenspring Associates and Scale Venture Partners are committing to adopt the Rooney/Murray Rule for the interview processes for senior- and intern-level positions, ensuring the consideration of a diverse slate of candidates.
- Scale Venture Partners is committing to contributing a minimum of 20 hours a month as faculty for educational programs and organizations that serve women and minorities. These programs and organizations include Hackbright, WIN, PE WIN, Manos Accelerator, Kauffman Fellows, Kauffman Foundation, Toigo Foundation, BuildUp, and Columbia University, among others.
- NCT Ventures of Columbus, Ohio will announce the results of research conducted with the Rochester Institute of Technology, Saunders College of Business, Center for Urban Entrepreneurship on minority entrepreneurs to give measurable quantitative and qualitative insight into how to help investors and entrepreneurs better address the barriers to accessing capital among minority business enterprises. The results include recommendations on how to achieve these goals.
Limited partners are investing in new and diverse talent. Just as venture-capital firms are seeking more diversity in their organizations and portfolio companies, institutional investors are seeking more diversity among the people managing their funds:
- CalPERS is committing up to $11 billion in new capital investments for emerging and transitioning managers. CalPERS, which invests $300 billion on behalf of 1.7 million public-sector workers in California, will commit up to $4 billion in new capital investments in emerging managers over the next five years. CalPERS data show that women- and minority-owned firms are represented at higher rates among its emerging managers than its non-emerging managers. As a result, this substantial new investment provides an opportunity to increase ethnic and gender diversity among CalPERS investment managers. Additionally, CalPERS is committing to a new industry-leading manager-transition program of up to $7 billion over the next five years. The program is designed to provide a path of growth to up-and-coming firms, including women and minority-owned firms, which are transitioning from small entrepreneurial platforms to larger, established asset-management firms.
- The New York City Pension Funds are investing $500 million in emerging managers. New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer is announcing a $500 million expansion of the New York City Pension Funds’ Private Equity Emerging Manager program. With this new commitment to small and diverse fund managers, the City’s Pension Funds now have over $5.5 billion invested or committed to Emerging Managers in the private-equity asset class, including nearly $2.7 billion with minority- and women-owned businesses. This builds on an initiative announced in May to formally incorporate diversity as a criterion for selecting and evaluating fund managers across New York City’s $160 billion portfolio.
- Engineering deans from over 100 universities are committing to building a more-representative student-talent pipeline. Today, engineering deans from around the country signed a letter pledging four actions that promise to increase diversity among engineering students. First, they will develop a concrete diversity plan for their engineering programs, with input from national organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers. Second, they will undertake an annual equity and inclusion climate survey of faculty, students, and staff, with the goal of assessing and increasing the effectiveness of the Diversity Plan developed. Third, they commit to at least one K-12 Pipeline Activity with targeted goals and measures of accountability aimed at increasing the diversity of the student body in their institutions. And fourth, they commit to developing strong partnerships between research-intensive engineering schools and non-PhD-granting engineering schools serving populations underrepresented in engineering. For more details on signatories as well as applications of these principles, click here.
- The Angel Capital Association is committing to publishing diversity data and promoting best practices. Angel investors (i.e., individuals and small groups) invested an estimated $24 billion in 73,000 companies last year and are responsible for 90 percent of the equity investment that startups receive, but women and minorities make up less than 20 percent of both the pool of investors and the entrepreneurs that attract investment. As part of a new and sustained initiative to address this gap, the Angel Capital Association plans to grow the efficiency of this capital market for underserved populations by funding and conducting a first-ever study of the demographics of American angel investors and how and why they make investment decisions. The results of the study will be shared at the 2016 Angel Capital Association Summit in Philadelphia, along with best practices that can help connect angels with diverse entrepreneurs. This information is intended to lead to increased startup financing in regions outside of Silicon Valley and for women- and minority-led companies. Such financing will be tracked and publicly reported over time.
- The Information Technology Industry Council is committing to three new diversity initiatives. The Information Technology Industry Council, which represents 60 major technology companies, is pledging to work with its members to expand the tech-talent pipeline through greater education, hiring, and retention of women and underrepresented minorities; creating company cultures that embrace diversity, including by raising awareness about unconscious bias; and improving measurement by creating consistent industry definitions of tech jobs. For more details, click here.
American Technology Companies Announce New Efforts to Promote Workforce Diversity
As the President has observed, “when everybody is participating and given a shot, there’s nothing we cannot do. … Because when we’ve got everybody on the field, that’s when you win games.” In light of this reality, numerous U.S. technology firms are taking their own independent steps to make their applicant pools and workforces reflect the broad diversity of talent in America.
- Airbnb will expand unconscious-bias awareness. Airbnb will offer awareness resources and discussions on unconscious bias to hosts from around the world at its fall 2015 global convening of 6,000 hosts. This will be followed by updated educational modules around diversity and inclusion for members of the Airbnb community.
- Amazon commits to diversity in hiring and development: Amazon commits to including diverse candidates on every executive hiring slate. It has also invented a process for hiring entry-level software development engineers that is skills-based to ensure the most objective selection process. Amazon commits to continually developing, deploying, and assessing mechanisms throughout the hiring and retention process to interrupt unconscious bias and promote diversity.
- Box commits to Rooney Rule in senior management hiring: Today Box commits to using the Rooney Rule for all of its senior management positions, meaning at least one woman and at least one underrepresented minority will be considered in the slate of candidates.
- Color Genomics is pledging diversity in staff. Color Genomics, a genetic testing startup with 30 employees, will prioritize gender parity in the recruitment of its first 100 employees and beyond. Given that a significant proportion of Color Genomics investors are female entrepreneurs and executives, the company will also formalize a program that pairs Color’s high-profile female angel investors and advisors with female leaders within the company for mentorship and career development.
- Dropbox is committing to unconscious-bias training. Dropbox is committing to unconscious-bias training for all of its over 1,200 employees, and to regularly releasing data on the diversity of its workforce.
- Facebook launches Supplier Diversity Program. As a company generating significant revenue for other business partners, Facebook commits to ensuring that minority- and women-owned enterprises participate in the Facebook supply chain by launching a Supplier Diversity Program in 2016 to better identify and partner with women- and minority-owned businesses across the nation. This commitment to diversity builds on Facebook’s earlier commitments to release its own diversity data and to pilot a version of the Rooney Rule, which sets the expectation that hiring managers should interview a diverse slate of candidates from underrepresented groups when filling open roles.
- GoDaddy is pledging to achieve compensation parity. GoDaddy is committed to annual release of gender diversity numbers and to diverse hiring practices across all levels, aided by unconscious-bias training in partnership with the Clayman Institute. In the last year, GoDaddy has more than doubled its number of women interns and new college graduate hires. In keeping with a commitment to opportunities for advancement within the company, GoDaddy will complete a comprehensive audit analyzing compensation for like roles by women and men at the company, ensuring that equal work receives equal pay.
- Google to hold Women’s Demo Day and partner with CODE2040 to double the reach of Entrepreneur-in-Residence program. In 2016, CODE2040 and Google for Entrepreneurs (GFE) will reach over 4,000 individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in tech entrepreneurship by increasing their Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program from three cities to six. GFE also commits to holding its first-ever Women's Demo Day later this year. This event, modeled after past GFE Demo Days, will feature women-led startups from around the country pitching to a group of judges at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, with the goal of driving investment and providing Google mentorship and introductions to each entrepreneur. In addition, Google will expand partnerships with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) through the Google-in-Residence program currently at five schools (Howard University, Hampton University, Fisk University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College) to prepare more HBCU students for leading technical roles.
- IBM to invest in women in technology. IBM commits to expand its relationship with Girls Who Code to introduce the next generation of women software developers to cloud computing innovation. IBM will build on its seven-week summer immersion program in New York City for female high school students to support additional programs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin. IBM is also announcing a new collaboration with GSVlabs on the ReBoot Accelerator for Women, a program designed to help women become connected with cloud development using Bluemix as they return to work after a multi-year sabbatical. IBM will also provide mentorship and assistance with job placement strategies in order to attract more women back to the workplace.
- Indiegogo is committing to workforce-diversity transparency. Indiegogo, the world’s largest crowdfunding platform, will annually publish statistics on the diversity of its workforce. To improve its pipeline of diverse candidates, Indiegogo is investing in the latest technologies to fuel efforts to support diversity, including having 100 percent of recruiting staff trained and using software by 2016 that helps to make the hiring process more bias-free. Indiegogo is also committed to working with partners including CODE2040 to increase the number of female and underrepresented minority interns and fellows that it hosts every year.
- Intel is investing $5 million in tech talent pipeline with Georgia Tech partnership. Today, as part of its Diversity in Technology Initiative, Intel is announcing that it is deepening its engineering pipeline partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology. Intel will invest $5 million over the next five years to deploy research-driven solutions to inspire and retain women and underrepresented minorities to start and complete computer science and engineering degrees. This builds on Intel's commitments to diversity, including the commitment to have a workforce that represents American demographics by 2020, the use of effective methods like the “Rooney Rule” to ensure a diverse slate of candidates for positions including women and underrepresented minorities, and the launch of Intel's $125 million Intel Diversity Fund, which will invest in women and underrepresented entrepreneurs.
- Microsoft is committing to greater diversity and inclusion among its leadership and key partners. Microsoft supports increased diversity and inclusion in all parts of the technology economy, and today is announcing that in addition to regularly publishing its employee diversity data, it will ensure a diverse candidate list for various corporate leadership positions, including its Board of Directors and its executive officers. This builds on earlier corporate-wide commitments such as requiring employees to complete unconscious-bias training and supporting partnerships that build diverse talent in the future workforce, including the Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). Additionally, Microsoft is announcing the launch of the next generation of its Law Firm Diversity Program, which will include $15 million over the next five years to incentivize and work with major law firms across the country to increase diversity among the firms’ partnership and leadership ranks.
- Pinterest commits to Rooney Rule and apprenticeships. As part of recent commitments to reaching specific diversity goals for 2016, Pinterest is building on its pledge to adopt a version of the Rooney Rule – ensuring that a diverse slate of candidates is considered for hiring in all leadership positions, requiring that each slate include at least one female and one person from an underrepresented background. Pinterest is also announcing it will create 50 apprenticeships for those returning to or transitioning into the tech sector, in addition to launching an early identification intern program for freshman and sophomore students from underrepresented backgrounds. Pinterest also commits to regularly releasing its diversity data.
- Xerox commits to diversity in its management positions. Xerox announces that it will require that a diverse slate of candidates be considered for open management positions. Just as the “Rooney Rule” promoted diversity in NFL head coaching positions, the “Wilson Rule” – named after Joe Wilson, the first CEO of Xerox and a champion of equal opportunity in hiring practices – will require that women and minorities must be interviewed by the hiring manager among the final pool of at least three qualified candidates for every open management position in the United States and that, outside the United States, women must be interviewed among the final pool of at least three qualified candidates. This will help drive diverse representation at all levels of management throughout the corporation.
- ZestFinance is committing to gender parity in its workforce by 2016. ZestFinance is committing to having a diverse slate of candidates for every job position by the end of 2015, meaning each slate would include a woman and a person of color. ZestFinance also commits to having a workforce that has gender parity by the second quarter of 2016. This builds on the company’s success in achieving this goal for its C-suite earlier this year. ZestFinance plans to increase diversity in its recruitment, including outreach to and hiring of minorities, people with disabilities, and military veterans by the end of 2016.
A Growing Community of Organizations Answering the Call to Action on Inclusive Entrepreneurship
When the White House issued a public call to action earlier this year, there was an enormous response from companies, nonprofits, universities, and others around the country declaring new actions to promote inclusive entrepreneurship. What follows are just a few examples of those independent commitments:
- 1776 is committing to increasing diversity in entrepreneur participation: 1776, a global startup incubator based in Washington, DC, is today committing to track the diversity of its members with a goal of doubling participation of women and underrepresented minorities in the next four years.
- 1871 is expanding inclusive entrepreneurship efforts in Chicago. The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (“1871”) is committed to ensuring that Chicago’s technology entrepreneurial landscape is reflective of the city’s overall demographic makeup, specifically through 1871-run programming created to grow the number of minority, female, and Veteran tech entrepreneurs in Chicago. 1871 is expanding its emphasis on inclusion in the next year (and beyond), building on its initial success in increasing the collective number of minority, female, and Veteran entrepreneurs to almost 30 percent of its total population served. The additional programming will provide financial support to bring these entrepreneurs to 1871, customized curricula to build and grow their respective businesses, connections to senior technical talent, and curated events to facilitate introductions to targeted investors and key customers.
- 36°N will launch a new effort to support “mom-preneurs.” 36°N – Tulsa, Oklahoma's basecamp for entrepreneurs –will partner with 28 other organizations to provide a community, workspace, and resources for mothers who want to create businesses while balancing family life. 36°N will make more than 500 educational events and mentoring relationships available in a flexible format that fits with a mom’s schedule while also creating content that specifically addresses the issues facing mom-preneurs.
- AARP Foundation will launch a new innovation prize. The DC-based AARP Foundation exists to create and advance effective solutions to address the fundamental challenges that stand in the way of opportunities for low-income Americans 50 and older. Through the AARP Foundation Prize, a business plan competition for student entrepreneurs, the AARP Foundation seeks innovative business plan submissions from a diverse range of students, including those from communities that are underrepresented in entrepreneurship. Today, the AARP Foundation is announcing the 2016 competition, in which over 350,000 students at 16 participating universities will have the opportunity to submit innovative solutions that address the needs of low-income individuals aged 50 and over.
- Astia is committing to increasing equity fundraising opportunities for women-led companies. Astia, a nonprofit with a commitment to serving and investing in high-growth companies with women on their founding teams, has committed to expanding opportunities for women entrepreneurs in three new markets through both its venture showcases and Astia Angels meetings. Astia will host these program in at least three new geographies in the United States outside of its core markets of San Francisco, New York, and London by the end of 2016.
- Blackstone LaunchPad is committing to increase participation and success of women and minorities in campus-based entrepreneurship programs. Blackstone LaunchPad, funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, offers coaching, ideation and venture-creation support to students, alumni, staff, and faculty. By the end of 2015, Blackstone LaunchPad will be available to over 500,000 students globally. Today, the program is pledging that each of the Blackstone LaunchPad campuses will create dedicated efforts to fostering inclusive entrepreneurship for women and minority students and ventures led by women and minorities. For example, the University of Central Florida is hosting a weekly session with a successful woman entrepreneur, Kent State is creating a Mentor and Protégé Program structured specifically for their minority community, and the University of California Irvine is working with venture iBesties to inspire girls ages 6-10 in the areas of entrepreneurship and technology learning through books, dolls and online entertainment.
- Chatham University is announcing a new program for women entrepreneurs. The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Pittsburgh's Chatham University, which creates economic opportunities for women, is announcing a new program to better serve women entrepreneurs seeking to commercialize a product, apply to accelerators or incubators, or secure funding for their businesses. This MyPath program includes consulting and targeted mentoring over a period of four months, targeting the approximately 55,000 Pittsburgh makers and artisans who are women freelancing and self-employed in creative industries, who often have difficulty commercializing their products in a sustainable way.
- CheckDroid will launch a new service to help people test and support mobile applications easily. The mission of Georgia-based CheckDroid is to provide tools that are easy to learn, and can be used by anyone without extensive programming knowledge, to build reliable mobile apps. CheckDroid grew out of Georgia Tech's research lab and is actively involved in training local students to pursue software engineering and entrepreneurial paths in their careers. CheckDroid’s service will include monthly training and hackathon sessions focused on learning and practicing mobile development, with the potential of reaching 5,000 people every year (including students and minorities). CheckDroid is further committing to conducting bi-monthly educational and coaching sessions catered specifically toward women and underrepresented minority groups. With support from Georgia Tech, CheckDroid will reach out to local groups such as Women Who Code, Startup Chicks, and schools in remote, diverse areas to bring app development and testing skills to everyone.
- Code for America is publishing best practices around economic development and inclusive growth. Code for America, a tech nonprofit focused on improving government services, will launch an online community of practice for economic-development professionals around best practices for promoting inclusive economic growth, with results to be shared at its September 2015 Code for America summit.
- Duke University is committing to inclusive entrepreneurship. Duke University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Initiative is committing to support both women and underrepresented minorities in their pursuit of entrepreneurship, so that their participation in Duke programs reflects their representation in the U.S. population. Duke’s initiative embeds innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the entire university community, offering both academic and co-curricular programs to all 6,500 undergraduate students and more than 8,000 graduate and professional students. This encourages everyone to incorporate these concepts into his or her education, whether they are artists, researchers, engineers, or individuals pursuing another course of study. The recently launched Duke Angel Network and Duke Innovation Fund allow Duke-affiliated entrepreneurs to be selected for financial investment, thus supporting entrepreneurs who develop and launch ventures. In August, the I&E Initiative will move its offices to downtown Durham to better connect to and strengthen the Durham entrepreneurial community.
- EntreEd is announcing entrepreneurship education pilot in West Virginia. EntreEd, the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, will engage West Virginia teachers and administrators in a pilot project with the potential to reach 18,000 K-12 students. The project aims to train all teachers to teach standards in any subject by connecting standards to real-world entrepreneurial settings and examples. Collaboration with entrepreneurship-education providers such as Junior Achievement, Lemonade Day, and Generation E will support teacher efforts. Successful schools will be named by EntreEd as one of “America’s Entrepreneurial Schools.” By the end of the three-year pilot, schools in 12 other states will be added.
- Founder and CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks is committing $3 million to invest in women entrepreneurs. Advancing his signature initiative commitment through the Department of Commerce’s Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) program, Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship and KIND founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky will invest in three women leading emerging health-conscious food startups. Beyond financial support, Lubetzky will provide ongoing strategic guidance and direct access to a network of mentors who helped build KIND from a start-up into the fastest-growing U.S. snack company. In addition to Lubetzky, various Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship will participate in White House Demo Day as a continuation of their commitment to engage and mentor innovators at home and around the world. Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution, LLC; Daymond John, Founder of FUBU and CEO of Shark Branding; and Ali Rosenthal, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Wealthfront; will be in attendance. For more details on this and other PAGE signature initiatives, see here.
- Future\Perfect Ventures is committing to inclusive investments and partnership efforts. Future\Perfect Ventures, an early-stage venture-capital fund founded by female venture capitalist Jalak Jobanputra and based in New York City, is committing a $20 million fund over the next five years towards investing in technology entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, and in technology startups developing products and services for underserved markets. As part of this goal, the Fund has partnered with the NoVo Foundation to run workshops connecting successful female entrepreneurs to women from underprivileged communities. Through this partnership, the Fund will also provide human resources and recruiting support to its portfolio companies to encourage more-inclusive work environments within the technology sector.
- Global Accelerator Network (GAN) commits to matching the diverse makeup of the United States. GAN, a network of 70 accelerators across the country and the world, commits to increasing diversity among both the startups and the accelerators it works alongside. Today GAN is committing to a five-year goal of increasing the share of women holding executive roles at both GAN accelerators and GAN startups to parity, and of having the ethnicities of GAN startup founders match the diverse makeup of the United States population.
- Hackers/Founders is launching $20 million startup fund in collaboration with Women 2.0. Hackers/Founders, an accelerator and global community of technology founders, is, in collaboration with Women 2.0, a global community of women tech founders, announcing the launch of a $20 million fund to invest in early-stage tech startups. Hackers/Founders startups will continue to be selected through a process that removes references to gender, name, age, race, or educational affiliation in order to minimize bias, while Women 2.0 will significantly increase the number of women founders applying to the program.
- IntraCity Geeks will expand urban coding events. IntraCity Geeks, based in Rhode Island, seeks to increase workplace diversity and reduce income inequality by teaching over 1 million people in urban centers coding and entrepreneurship during the next five years, including through its Junior Bootcamp and Junior Hackathon initiatives for public school students. IntraCity Geeks has already created “Code Night with the Mayor,” during which coding is taught not only to the local mayor, but to as many other people that can fit in City Hall. This fall, in conjunction with the city of Providence, IntraCity Geeks will launch its first city-wide hackathon with middle-school, high-school, collegiate, and adult levels, and will begin replicating the model in cities throughout the country.
- JPMorgan Chase is committing to $4 million in new tech training grants. Through its multiyear $250 million New Skills at Work initiative, JPMorgan Chase is committing $4 million in new grants in 2015 to support training programs that build the pipeline of skilled technology workers and entrepreneurs. These new grants will support efforts in more than a dozen U.S. cities to develop and implement innovative training programs in information-communications technology, open up new opportunities for underrepresented populations to enter careers in technology, assemble partnerships that will work to align technology-training systems with industry demand, and produce the data and research required to build a diverse talent pipeline in the technology field.
- Kapor Capital, the Level Playing Field Institute, and the Kapor Center for Social Impact are investing $40 million over the next three years in initiatives fostering inclusive entrepreneurship. Kapor Capital will invest over $25 million in technology startups, with an emphasis on founders from populations that have been underrepresented in receipt of venture-capital funding. Beginning today, 100 percent of the founding teams it invests in will commit to building an inclusive culture and a workforce that reflects the communities its companies serve. As longstanding advocates for diversity and inclusion, the Kapor Capital team will actively work with portfolio companies to achieve these goals. Through its SMASH (Summer Math and Science Honors) Academy and other programs, Level Playing Field Institute will invest over $6 million in the next three years to build an expanded talent pipeline of future founders from underrepresented backgrounds, including those from low-income communities of color, through operating intensive college-access programs in STEM, computer science and entrepreneurship at the high-school and middle-school levels. As the Kapor Center for Social Impact (KCSI) opens its new building in Oakland, California in 2016, it will expand its programming, sponsorships, and support for organizations working to develop a more diverse tech ecosystem in the San Francisco Bay Area. KCSI will commit at least $3 million per year for this purpose, which will go towards activities including financing program operations, hosting convenings, conducting original research, and providing grants to partner organizations.
- Junior Achievement is committing to reach one million K-12 students a year with entrepreneurial education by 2020. Entrepreneurship education pioneer Junior Achievement will nearly double the number of students reached with entrepreneurship programs over the previous five years. Junior Achievement will engage new business sponsors, such as The Hartford, to develop and deliver programs with entrepreneurial concepts delivered through technology-driven blended learning models. Junior Achievement will also work with the U.S. Small Business Administration to help bring today's business owners into classrooms across the country to share their experience and inspiration with tomorrow's entrepreneurs.
- Kairos will support entrepreneurship through 1,000 volunteer hours. Kairos, a Miami-based facial recognition software company, will support entrepreneurship in Miami and nationally by committing to spending over 1,000 hours in affected communities to help entrepreneurs to build and scale their businesses.
- Lesbians Who Tech is investing $100,000 in coding scholarships. Lesbians Who Tech – a global community of queer women in tech with over 10,000 members – will help pay tuition costs for queer women to learn how to code. Lesbians Who Tech will also scale mentorship with its new one-day shadow career program, “Bring a Lesbian to Work Day,” to over 500 queer women over the next three years who want to learn how to code, invest, or become tech entrepreneurs.
- Millennial Trains Project will double in size. The Millennial Trains Project facilitates crowd-funded transcontinental train journeys for diverse groups of young people, as a platform for inclusive innovation. NBCUniversal will support the Millennial Trains Project to double the number of participants, increase the geographic diversity of communities with which the project engages across the United States, and double the amount of grant funding available through the project for the continuation of innovative and socially-impactful participant-led efforts.
- National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is committing to a lean-startup pilot. NACCE, a network of over 300 colleges across the United States, is committing to launching a Rapid Curriculum Development pilot later this year in partnership with MassChallenge, as well as Quinsigamond and Bunker Hill Community Colleges. The model, developed with lean startup principles, will provide a blueprint for community colleges to engage with industry to foster innovation, develop certificate programs that close the skills gap, and place students in jobs.
- Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) expanding its Startup Tech middle and high school programs. NFTE will reach 1,200 students this coming year (double the number of students it reached this year) through innovative programs that blend entrepreneurship and computer science together to motivate students to pursue STEM careers. Additionally, NFTE will host is first-ever Entrepreneurial Mindset Summit in October 2015 with signature support from EY, bringing together civically minded thought leaders in education, labor, policy, research, and entrepreneurship to support entrepreneurship education and engagement.
- NY Tech Meetup is committing to specific actions promoting diversity, transparency, and outreach. As the world's largest Meetup group and a non-profit technology trade association, NY Tech Meetup (NYTM) is committed to increasing the diversity of its membership and of New York's technology sector as a whole so that it mirrors the population of New York itself. Over the next year, NYTM pledges to continue gathering demographic data from all NYTM demo applicants and begin gathering demographic data from members who volunteer it, and publicly sharing this demographic data. NYTM will commit to engaging diverse members of the tech community by hosting at least four events for women to connect with and engage in the technology community in which women have been traditionally underrepresented, participating in at least four partner events with diverse community organizations, and hosting at least three events in areas of New York traditionally underserved by technology events and meetups.
- Opportunity Hub will launch a new inclusive entrepreneurship initiative. Opportunity Hub (OHUB), based in Atlanta, is launching a new inclusive innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment initiative in collaboration with The Iron Yard, CodeU,Troy Carter’s AF Square, and Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center. The goal of this multi-year initiative is to increase the number of investable minority, high-growth technology and technology-enabled startups and early-stage companies in the United States, and includes: $1 million in full and partial code-school scholarships, allowing over 100 minority students to attend The Iron Yard; financing for up to 10,000 students via a partnership with CodeU; $1 million in full and partial scholarships to OHUB’s Pre-Accelerator, which will provide a pipeline for over 100 diverse entrepreneurs to over 70 accelerators for pre-seed funding; and more angel investors of color via the Angel Investing Certificate Program with Troy Carter’s AF Square and Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center. This builds on OHUB’s past track record of incubating more than 100 inclusive startups that have gone on to raise over $5 million in seed capital.
- Phone2Action is announcing a civic tech fund. Phone2Action, a DC-based digital platform that empowers people to make the world a better place, is announcing the release of a $250,000 development fund to create a pipeline of software developers to work in the areas of open government, communications, and civic engagement, focused on low-income minority and female high-school and college-age students in the Washington, DC metro area. The participants will join a year-long program structured on a multifaceted curriculum, including in-person and online classes, mentoring, coaching, and a lab to build a civic tech application.
- Rev: Ithaca Startup Works will launch a new program supporting women entrepreneurs. Rev: Ithaca Startup Works will kick off a yearlong program to support women entrepreneurs. Founded through a partnership among Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College, Rev: Ithaca Startup Works is a business incubator designed to help startups regardless of industry or academic affiliation. Rev’s new program, “Passenger to Pilot: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs,” has a threefold mission to build and grow businesses; build a network of female entrepreneurs and executives; and create visible role models for aspiring business owners.
- Revolution’s Rise of the Rest tour is visiting 10 additional cities and investing $1 million in 10 new startups. Revolution’s “Rise of the Rest” initiative is a nationwide effort led by Steve Case to showcase – and invest in – entrepreneurs in emerging startup ecosystems across the United States. Through the effort, $1.5 million has been invested in startup businesses across a diverse set of 14 cities, including Charleston, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Richmond. Today, Case is committing to visit ten more “Rise of the Rest” cities, starting with Baltimore; Buffalo, New York; Manchester, New Hampshire, Philadelphia; and Portland, Maine. During day-long visits to these “rising” startup ecosystems, Steve Case and the Revolution team, supported by partners including Google for Entrepreneurs and Salesforce for Startups, will meet with local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profits, universities, and public officials to discuss the opportunities and challenges of fostering startup growth. At a pitch competition open to the public in each city, a local startup will receive a $100,000 investment.
- Springboard is committing to engage five new corporate partners to work with alumnae companies by end of 2016. Springboard, a global network that has supported the growth of 589 women-led technology and healthcare/life-science companies that have collectively raised $6.7 billion in capital to date, is committing to increase its corporate-focused collaborations supporting women entrepreneurs over the next year. These partnerships will foster more relationships between emerging women-led companies and corporations seeking innovative technologies to pilot, partner with, invest in, or acquire.
- Summer of Service (SOS) is launching an inclusive entrepreneurship program for San Antonio youth. Summer of Service (SOS), based in San Antonio, will launch “Make it Happen,” a new initiative designed to advance inclusive entrepreneurship by encouraging youth to create their own social entrepreneurship ventures with the help and guidance of SOS. This initiative will reach over 400 students and potentially lead to 50 student-led social entrepreneurial ventures over the next five years. SOS is dedicated to educating youth through community service and travel abroad. These experiences are designed to empower young people to be change makers in San Antonio.
- Techstars is committing to doubling participation of women and underrepresented minorities in its accelerator program applicant pool over the next four years. To advance inclusive entrepreneurship, and as part of a commitment to transparency, Techstars will publish diversity data related to its employees, accelerator programs, and mentor network on an annual basis. Techstars has partnered with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) to offer access, membership, and resources to the 600 companies in Techstars’ portfolio and the 200 companies they add annually. They will create mentorship opportunities among Techstars Managing Directors, their extensive network of founders, and the technical women in the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing community. Techstars will ensure that relevant staff are trained on unconscious bias and that every selection committee includes at least two women so that female founders are represented in the company selection process. Techstars intends to double the participation of women in its applicant pool – which is currently at 17 percent – and among its 3,000 mentors within the next four years. Techstars is also committed to begin tracking participation in its programs by underrepresented minorities and doubling that from the baseline over the same time period.
- ThinkUp is launching a free service to increase access for digital entrepreneurs. ThinkUp LLC is launching Makerbase, a free directory of people who create digital apps and websites, in order to make visible networks to help entrepreneurs across the country advance their own paths to a technology career.
- University student and faculty leaders commit to cross-campus entrepreneurship education. Through a student-led effort by University Innovation Fellows across the country, leaders from over two dozen universities are today committing to provide all students on campus with access to innovation and entrepreneurship learning opportunities, regardless of major and including underserved student communities.