BX Challenge supports diverse entrepreneurs in Chicago area

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced its first cohort of eight organizations in the Chicago-area entrepreneurship challenge. Named the BX Challenge, up to $3 million in grant funding will be provided over three years to innovative organizations that effectively recruit and support diverse entrepreneurs and scale startups in the Chicago area. The selected programs will serve underserved populations, including communities of color, women, veterans, and immigrants.

Unfairness, mistreatment largest contributors to employee turnover in tech industry

Unfair treatment is the largest driver of employee turnover in the tech industry, according to a new report by authors at the Kapor Center for Social Impact with support from the Ford Foundation. In the 2017 Tech Leavers Study, the authors surveyed a national sample of 2,000 adults who in the past three years have voluntarily left a job in a technology-related industry. They find that unfairness or mistreatment in the work environment was the most frequently cited reason for leaving (37 percent), especially for professionals from underrepresented populations (e.g., women, black, Latinx, and Native American).

New Report Highlights Local Strategies for Developing Equitable Innovation Economies

As U.S. cities increasingly focus economic development strategies on technology and innovation to spur economic growth, they should be cognizant that growing these businesses and jobs can also exacerbate local inequities and should, therefore, develop plans to address this issue, according to a newly released report from the Equitable Innovation Economies Initiative (EIE).

First Census-Led Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs Finds Women, Minorities Underrepresented

Researchers of American entrepreneurship now have a timelier socio-economic portrait of the nation’s employer-owned businesses as a result of a public-private partnership between the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, and the Kauffman Foundation. Last week, data from the first Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs were made publicly available, which provides a detailed picture of the American entrepreneur in 2014 by examining race, ethnicity, gender, and geography.

New Delta Regional Authority Initiative Targets Student Entrepreneurs at HBCUs

In an effort to advance entrepreneurship among their student bodies and grow their regional entrepreneurship ecosystems, six historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) will receive up to $24,000 in support services as part of a new program from the Delta Regional Authority. Funds from the HBCU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Initiative will primarily be used for universities to work with partners to identify entrepreneurial resources within the regional system, categorize strengths and weaknesses, and to strategically build around opportunities. Additionally, the selected schools will each host a two-day technical assistance and rapid acceleration workshop that seeks to teach student entrepreneurs about the types of skills and resources needed to launch and scale businesses. Student entrepreneurs will then pitch their ideas for a chance to be selected to present at Founders Weekend, where finalists will receive mentorship with successful minority entrepreneurs, business model development, and other services.

Indices Examine Conditions, Top Places for High-Potential Female Entrepreneurship

Two recently released indices assess countries and cities on the characteristics that enable female entrepreneurship. The 2015 Female Entrepreneurship Index finds the U.S., Australia, the U.K., Denmark and the Netherlands offer the world’s most attractive environments for high-potential female entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, the Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index ranks New York City, California’s Bay Area, London, Stockholm and Singapore as the top cities for female entrepreneurship.

Making High-Tech Incubators, Accelerators More Inclusive

Although many leaders of high-tech incubator and accelerator programs do not currently offer targeted programs to ensure inclusivity of all populations, they have conveyed they would like to do so, according to new research from the Initiative for the Competitive Inner City (ICIC), with financial support from JP Morgan Chase. The research brief, which was unveiled this week as part of Detroit’s Startup Week, draws on interviews with more than 75 entrepreneurship, incubator and accelerator program managers to identify barriers to inclusivity and present potential strategies that could increase the participation rates of women and minority entrepreneurs.

Wells Fargo’s Five-Year CSR Effort to Make Investment in Inclusive Innovation

Wells Fargo & Company released a five-year, company-wide corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy that includes significant commitments to inclusion, innovation, small business lending, and community investment. Its 2020 social commitment will target three commitment areas – diversity and social inclusion; economic empowerment; and, economic sustainability.

Female Partners Remain Small Fraction of VC Firms

Only 8 percent of partners with the authority to invest at 2,300 micro- and venture capital (VC) firms are women (and only 7 percent of the top 100 firms), according to CrunchBase Women in Venture, a new report providing a detailed snapshot of the state of female investors and founders. The report finds of 54 corporate VC divisions and 101 accelerators, 12 percent of partners were female.

Initiatives Announced to Help Young Women Overcome Roadblocks in STEM Education

Several recent studies have identified the roadblocks that females face in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. These two roadblocks include gender bias in the classroom and too few mentors in K-16 STEM fields. In an attempt to increase opportunities for females in STEM education, both federal and foundation funders have announced programs that will increase scholarship and internship opportunities for young women in STEM fields.


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