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Black professionals in tech industry being ‘left behind’ due to persistent racial inequalities

According to recent research from the non-profit Colorintech and Meta, large and persistent racial inequities continue, with expanding gaps between what organizations say and what they do to promote inclusion.

Nearly a quarter (30%) of those polled stated that they can’t – and don’t want to – be their true selves at work, and that they feel compelled to be inauthentic for fear of not progressing, and that a façade of conformity must override their personal values, views, and attributes in order to fit in with organizational ones.

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VCs on a mission: 23 investors looking to fund women, Black, Latin and LGBTQ founders

It’s no secret that the venture capital industry suffers from a lack of diversity. The statistics are startling: 76 percent of venture capital partners are white men. This is despite the fact that many prominent venture capital firms publicly pledged to diversify the founders in their portfolios in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd.

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Apple is seeking entrepreneurs of color for its green technology accelerator program

As climate change accelerates, people of color in the United States and worldwide often face the brunt of the planet’s increasingly severe weather conditions.

Apple Inc. is looking for entrepreneurs with such backgrounds who are working on solutions to the challenge.

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PLUG IN SOUTH LA’S 3rd TECH ACCELERATOR PROGRAM TO EMPOWER ENTREPRENEURS & CREATE OPPORTUNITIES IN BLACK & LATINX COMMUNITIES 

Cohort focuses on start-up and early stage minority businesses across multiple industries

Los Angeles, CA – APR. 6, 2022 – Plug In South LA has launched its third cohort accelerator program to help fund and grow some of the most dynamic start-up and early-stage businesses and business owners in Black and Latinx communities. The accelerator – which will develop the vision of entrepreneurs in healthcare tech, edtech, fintech, cleantech, fashion, media, and gaming – aims to level the playing field and provide these minority-owned businesses with resources that will help narrow the funding gap compared to traditional Silicon Valley access. Over 85 companies applied to the exclusive and prestigious program, and 10 were accepted; more information can be found at https://pluginsouthla.com/tech-accelerator-program/

The 3rd Plug In accelerator  will provide its cohort of entrepreneurs and founders with tools to scale their businesses and position themselves to raise crucial funding. The accelerator also includes a 13-week intensive session to help founders succeed on all aspects of growth, fron deal-making and partnerships to pilot programs, investor management, strategic development, and more. Founders in the cohort already have raised upwards of $1 to 2 million in financing, from seed to early-stage rounds. 

The entrepreneurs and tech start-up founders in the 2022 accelerator will include: Dr. NanaEfua Afoh-Manin of Shared Harvest Fund (healthcare tech); Dr. Steven Moyo of Welfie (healthcare tech); Rodney Bell of Butterfly Health (healthcare tech); Kameale Terry of ChargerHelp! (cleantech/sustainability); Ashley Williams of RIZZARR (media); Kyra Peralte of The Traveling Diary (media); Leonard Tatum of Tatum Games (gaming); SergeAmouzou of Finpro (fintech); Zef Neemuchwala of Be A Maker Club (edtech); and Mitchella Gilbert of Oya Apparel (fashion).  Mentors in this year’s program include executives from CHCF, Gunderson, California Health Care Foundation, as well as other industry leaders who will be available for consultations and office hours including Courtside Ventures, RareBreed Ventures, and Zeal Capital Partners, among others.

“We are keen to help Founders secure capital and investment plus help them leverage the LA start ecosystem to develop traction and momentum around their company,” notes Derek Smith, Founder of Plug In South LA. 

Janet Boachie of the California Health Care Foundation added that “Our partnership taps into two communities critical to CHCF’s strategy: the Los Angeles health tech startup ecosystem and the Angelenos, who are low-income and/or on Medicaid. We aim to empower Black, Latino/x, people-of-color, and female health tech founders who are innovating within the healthcare safety net by creating relationships with potential partners – leading to sustainability, revenue generation, and impact within the communities these founders seek to serve.”

Plug In South LA also created and runs Urban Tech Connect, a prominent annual business conference that equips tech company founders from African American, LatinX, and under-represented communities in Los Angeles and beyond with a platform to plug in to the greater technology ecosystem and to network with other founders, VC’s, angel investors, tech influencers, and industry leaders. 

To learn more, please contact Jeannine Jacobi of Fresh PR at 323-903-7063 or jeannine@freshpr.net, or visit https://pluginsouthla.com

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Service-industry workers are quitting by the millions. These sisters launched a free Tinder-style app for job seekers to match with employers.

The hospitality industry, which employs over 15 million Americans, is at a crossroads: despite a large number of job searchers, restaurants and hotels are having difficulty finding personnel due to a combination of low pay and terrible working conditions. Deborah Gladney and Angela Muhwezi-Hall, two sisters, are hoping that their tinder-Esque app will be successful in finding new jobs that will be a better fit.

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Timnit Gebru is part of a wave of Black women working to change AI

A computer scientist who claims she was fired from Google in December 2020 has launched a new research organization to encourage the development of ethical artificial intelligence on the one-year anniversary of her dismissal. The Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute, or DAIR, was announced by Timnit Gebru, a well-known champion for diversity in AI. It bills itself as “a platform for autonomous, community-based AI research outside of Big Tech’s ubiquitous influence,” according to its website.

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Black Women Talk Tech Continue Partnership With Microsoft.

Black Women Talk Business (BWTT), a global network of Black female tech founders, is celebrating its long-standing partnership with Microsoft by announcing a slew of new projects for 2022. BWTT aims to find, support, and promote all women who want to start the next billion-dollar company. “Face of a Founder” Summit, the organization’s next event, is scheduled for Feb. 24, 2022.
For the past four years, Microsoft has been the presenting sponsor of the Black Women Talk Tech’s Roadmap to Billions Conference. In addition, the tech behemoth built the organization’s website.

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Nourish + Bloom Market, the first Black-owned, autonomous grocery, opens in Atlanta

Contactless grocery store Nourish + Bloom Market opened to the public Friday in Trilith’s Town Centre retail district in Atlanta. Husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Jamie and Jilea Hemmings started the grocery store and bistro to offer over 1,000 locally sourced, healthy food products, including produce, meats, baked goods, dairy and prepared meals. The Hemmings began their startup journey years ago when their oldest child was diagnosed with autism at age two. Jilea Hemmings explained that while researching the role that diet played in autism, they started a food company to take child favorites and give them a healthier spin.

Story Originally covered by https://techcrunch.com/2022/01/21/nourish-bloom-market-first-black-owned-autonomous-grocery-opens-in-atlanta/

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PLUG IN SOUTH LA’S 3rd TECH ACCELERATOR PROGRAM TO STIMULATE OPPORTUNITIES IN BLACK & LATINX COMMUNITIES

Los Angeles, CA – FEB. 1, 2022 – Plug In South LA is launching its third cohort accelerator program to help stimulate opportunities for dynamic businesses and business owners in Black and Latinx communities. The program is seeking start-up founders focused on Healthcare Tech, Climate and Sustainability, Digital Media, and EdTech. More information can be found at https://pluginsouthla.com/tech-accelerator-program/

Benefits of the accelerator will include potential grants of up to $40K as well as possible seed investments and pilot partnerships. Mentors in the program will include leaders and executives from California Health Care Foundation, Courtside Ventures, RareBreed Ventures, and Zeal Capital Partners, among others. 

“We are keen to help Founders secure capital and investment plus help them leverage the LA start ecosystem to develop traction and momentum around their company,” notes Derek Smith, Founder of Plug In South LA. 

In addition to the new accelerator, Plug In South LA is known for Urban Tech Connect, a prominent annual business conference that equips tech company founders from African American, LatinX, and under-represented communities in Los Angeles and beyond with a platform to plug in to the greater technology ecosystem and to network with other founders, VC’s, angel investors, tech influencers, and industry leaders. 

To learn more, please contact Jeannine Jacobi of Fresh PR at 323-903-7063 or jeannine@freshpr.net, or visit https://pluginsouthla.com

About Plug In South LA

Plug In South LA brings together entrepreneurs, founders, VCs, innovators, and emerging talent for conversations and networking focused on creating a community and hub for innovation in South LA. From conferences, tech demos, workshops, and intimate salons, Plug In offers members modern and contemporary programming aimed at entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, and creativity to help cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders. Programs include the Lunch & Learn Series, which invites under-represented founders at any stage to present their business ideas, challenges, and opportunities to a network of mentors, advisors, industry experts, investors, and more. Plug In also launched and runs a tech accelerator program aimed at cultivating the next generation of entrepreneurs by meeting continuously with a small cohort of founders to help them grow and scale their businesses, in addition to the annual Urban Tech Connect Conference. To learn more, please contact Jeannine Jacobi of Fresh PR at 323-903-7063 or jeannine@freshpr.net, or visit utc.pluginsouthla.com or email info@pluginsouthla.com

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Starting a new Habit

Tai Adaya took the internet craze “TIKTOK” and turned it into a skin-care brand called “HABIT.” Adaya is one of a significant and rising group of Latinx entrepreneurs in the United States. However, according to “Crunchbase” data, while funding to Latinx founders has increased in dollar terms—from $1.7 billion in 2017 to $6.8 billion in 2021—it has only slightly outpaced the overall increase in US venture capital investments, leaving Latinx startup funding stuck at around 2% of the overall pie. Meanwhile, evidence suggests that early-stage investment, probably the most important stage, has remained virtually unchanged in recent years.