Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and digitalundivided, a social enterprise that supports Black and LatinX women in innovation-focused entrepreneurship, today announced a strategic partnership in an effort to increase the number of diverse women founders in the Techstars Network. In joining forces, Techstars and digitalundivided are working to increase equitable access for Black and LatinX women founders entering Techstars programs, including Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator programs, Techstars Startup Weekends, and Techstars Startup Weeks.
This partnership announcement coincides with digitalundivided’s BIG Demo Day, that took place yesterday in Atlanta, Georgia, where 11 women-led startups in diverse fields such as eGaming, recruitment, education, beauty and lifestyle, media, and produce supply chain were showcased. The founders completed the 2017 and 2018 BIG Incubator program, a 30 week program for a select group of Black and LatinX women-led companies based on lean startup methodology. Techstars staff Jason Thompson, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at Techstars, and others attended the event.
“This year Techstars has expanded our focus on diversity and inclusion, and our partnership with digitalundivided is one of the ways we will achieve on that commitment,” says Jason Thompson. “We are thrilled to work with digitalundivided to further our engagement with Black and LatinX women entrepreneurs and provide the Techstars network as a resource to support their growth and success.”
Techstars is committed to expanding opportunities for underrepresented individuals throughout the network and serving as a leader in inclusive entrepreneurship. Active engagement of a diverse group of entrepreneurs plays a strong role in the economic empowerment of underrepresented peoples worldwide, stimulating positive social and economic global change. With industry data showing correlations between diverse teams, innovation, and stronger profitability, Techstars recognizes the importance of investing in diversity. According to a recent study, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to perform above the mean in their industry and those in the top quartile for race/ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to outperform others in their industry.
According to the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report in 2018, women of color account for 47% of all women-owned businesses, an estimated 5.8 million businesses, and generate $386.6 billion in revenues. However, digitalundivided’s 2018 research initiative, ProjectDiane2018, found that this group receives less than one percent of all venture investment. Additionally, they are far less likely to have the personal wealth, financial safety net, or network of support other entrepreneurs rely on to launch and grow their businesses. The partnership between digitalundivided and Techstars will focus on increasing access for women of color to resources and opportunities that drive them towards success.
“We’re excited to partner with Techstars,” says digitalundivided Founder and Managing Director, Kathryn Finney. “Given that our BIG incubator program is dedicated to high-growth tech businesses founded by Black and Latinx women, we see this partnership as a chance to expand pathways to success.”
digitalundivided (DID), a social enterprise founded in 2013, takes an innovative approach to economic empowerment by encouraging women of color (WOC) to own their economic security through entrepreneurship. With offices in Atlanta, GA and Newark, NJ, DID is the primary pipeline for WOC into innovation-focused entrepreneurship, helping founders raise over $25 million in outside funding.
Their current programming is built upon the success of DID’s FOCUS Fellow (FF) program (2012-2014), which provided support for WOC entrepreneurs. In 2015, DID started the #ProjectDiane data initiative and used insights gained from the ongoing project to build the BIG Incubator program and the BIG Innovation Centers.
Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,500 companies with a market cap of $15 Billion. www.techstars.com