On July 12, Project W kicked off its second Tech Equity Hub, our 12-week accelerator for Black and Latinx female tech founders. We welcomed ten founders from nine cities in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. They are innovating across healthcare, education, future of work, real estate, and retail.
- Nana Mireku | AllergenIQ – Managing chronic allergic conditions
- Margo Jordan | Enrichly – Building self-esteem in children
- Sarah Fraikue | EverMind – Providing mental health help worldwide
- LaToria Pierce | Handoff – Creating opportunities for part-time workers
- Meghan Cano | Housing Base – Making affordable housing more accessible
- Rocio Raña | LangInnov – Fostering success for K-to-2nd grade Latinx students
- Sabrina Castelli | Mujer Financiera – Empowering Latinas to take control of their personal finances
- Kim Riley | North Star Tech Solutions – Connecting disabled students with colleges and careers
- Sanna Gaspard | Rubitection – Developing tools to detect and care for chronic wounds
- Patricia García | unithrifts – Making college gear affordable and eliminating clothing waste
It is a privilege and a pleasure to spend twelve weeks with such an accomplished and inspiring group of women. While that is incentive enough, there are other reasons we do this work. Here are three of them:
1. Unlocking the potential of under-resourced founders.
We all know the dismal statistics regarding how and where capital is deployed. But the lack of funding is not at the root of why Black and Brown female founders are not building successful businesses at the same rate as their majority counterparts. Lack of funding is simply a symptom of an historical system defined by structural barriers and deeply embedded biases. The Tech Equity Hub aims to break down those barriers and disrupt the biases. With over 20 workshops, multiple 1:1 mentor sessions, and a live founder showcase in New York City on October 3, our programming provides the founders with the knowledge, skills, and connections they need to grow their companies, build talented teams, get their products in market, and secure that first institutional check.
2. Creating investment opportunities for investors.
The resources provided and connections made through the Tech Equity Hub help founders build companies that generate revenue, become profitable, and generate wealth for themselves, their families, and their employees. And, while doing so, these founders are creating great investment opportunities for investors. Investing in Black and Brown female founders is not philanthropy. These founders see problems and envision solutions that others overlook and, as a result, their companies are often uniquely positioned to lead the market in an otherwise crowded tech sector. With less capital at their disposal, these founders build capital-efficient businesses that, from a purely economic perspective, are rarely overvalued. We are very fortunate to have a network of investors who see the value of these companies and the market opportunities in the solutions they are building.
3. Fostering the success of companies the world needs.
It comes as no surprise that underrepresented founders are mission driven. They are often inspired to address a problem or circumstance they, their families, or their communities have experienced. And by confronting the challenges of their own lived experiences, they are building companies with the potential to do more than introduce the next new product. They are tackling big problems and building ambitious solutions which have the potential to improve the lives of people and the health of the planet. More often than not, the products and solutions these founders are building are not simply nice to have; they are products and solutions that the world needs.
We are thrilled to announce that each founder in the second cohort of the Tech Equity Hub will receive a $5,000 grant upon completion of the 12-week program. These non-dilutive grants are underwritten by Antares Capital through its REACH program and by Project W. The funds, which can be used by the founders however they choose, will supplement the human and social capital contributed by the Tech Equity Hub’s many other partners, faculty, and mentors.
We could not do this work without the valued support of our corporate partners – Antares Capital, COI Energy, Microsoft for Startups, R/GA Ventures, SAP.iO, and U.S. Bank – and the dozens of individuals who volunteer their time and expertise to teach workshops and provide mentorship and guidance. These committed companies and individuals constantly remind us that it takes an entire ecosystem to make a difference. You, too, can be part of this ecosystem. Contact Emily Baum, Project W Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in mentoring a founder or if you would like to attend the founder showcase in New York City on the evening of October 3.
The Project W Team