inclusion

Kapor Center, Gates Foundation launch $1M grant competition to diversify tech sector

The Oakland-based Kapor Center, a nonprofit focused on leveling the playing field in tech, has announced the Tech Done Right (TDR) Challenge with funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. With an emphasis on growing opportunities for women and people of color in the sector, the challenge will fund organizations with innovative solutions to building diverse, inclusive, and thriving tech ecosystems. Awardees will receive one-time grants beginning at $100,000. The challenge is now open and accepting applications here, with a submission deadline of Tuesday, May 7.

$350M initiative to help prepare for future of work

JPMorgan Chase has announced a new $350 million, five-year global initiative intended to meet the growing demand for skilled workers. The New Skills at Work investment will support community college and other non-traditional career pathway programs. It focuses on creating economic mobility and career pathways for underserved populations, as well as helping to forecast emerging skillsets for JPMorgan Chase employees.

Fed study shows little progress in integrating women into executive positions

A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis showed that women’s increased participation in the labor force has not led to a correspondingly greater participation of women in the highest executive positions at the organizations where they work. In fact, the study showed that women are significantly less likely to lead U.S. businesses than men are, and that this share has remained largely unchanged over the 2000-2014 period.

Racial wealth divide: Why being neutral is not enough

How likely would you be to leave your current job to form a startup if you had $3,600 in the bank? Would your interest increase if you had $147,000? While neither amount is enough to scale a business, the latter case obviously affords more cushion to learn the ropes or absorb the impacts of a few missed paychecks. These amounts are the median wealth for black and white households, respectively, according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies. While the report does not directly look to entrepreneurship as a factor — nor, notably, as a solution — the implications for regional innovation economies are clear.

Moving the needle in a positive direction in the innovation economy

Bringing the innovation community together and examining how it has advanced — or how it hasn’t — is one of the driving goals of SSTI’s annual conferences. This year we brought together thought-provoking leaders to help reflect on whether stakeholders in the innovation economy are moving the needle in the right direction.

Cohorts and other strategies to help individuals from underrepresented groups graduate with STEM degrees

While diversity plays a critical role in both improving the quality and increasing the rate of innovation, women and several minority groups remain underrepresented in STEM fields. Several studies find that improving the retention rate of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM at the college level can have significant impacts on improving the diversity and representativeness of the STEM workforce. For women and other underrepresented groups, the college experience can create unique roadblocks and barriers that ultimately cause them to switch majors or even leave college. Several recent studies have examined strategies to improve the retention rate of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM degrees at institution of higher education. The strategies range from pre-college STEM academies to establishing cohorts of underrepresented students.

Women hold only 9 percent of equity value in their startups, report finds

While women comprise approximately 33 percent of the combined founder and employee workforce at startup companies, they hold just 9 percent of all equity value in those companies, according to The Gap Table from Carta – a software platform for managing startup equity and ownership. The new report was based upon capitalization table (cap table) data from more than 6,000 companies with a combined total of nearly $45 billion in equity value. The cap table is a list of owners of a company and includes information about the percentages of ownership, equity dilution, and value of equity in each round of investment. The researchers found that:

  • Women make up 35 percent of equity-holding employees, but only hold 20 percent of employee equity; and,
  • Women make up 13 percent of founders, but hold 6 percent of founder equity.

Cities can compete for $500M in funds to drive inclusive growth

JPMorgan Chase announced the creation of AdvancingCities, a new $500 million, five-year initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity in cities across the world. The firm will invest in cities where conditions exist to help those who have not benefited from economic growth. This includes demonstrated collaboration across the public and private sectors on solutions that create opportunity for people at risk of being left out of economic growth. Successful applications will be eligible for a three-year grant of up to $3 million.

Financial hurdles for minority small businesses appear on both sides of the banker’s desk

In a previous Digest, SSTI discussed the positive impact that community banks have had on small business lending activity and economic growth in communities across the country since the Great Recession. In this article, SSTI shares two studies on the existing roadblocks and pessimism faced by minority small business and entrepreneurs as they seek financing through banks.

A deeper dive into company valuations: the case of female-founders

Valuations of venture backed companies and the number of unicorns are rising based on the leading nationwide surveys, but closer examination of the data reveals not all startups are seeing the effect. The median valuation for female-founded companies, for example, was lower in 2017 (approximately $11 million) than it was in 2007 (approximately $15 million), according to research from PitchBook’s Dana Olson. In comparison, the median valuation for male-founded startups has increased by approximately $8 million between 2007 (approximately $21 million) and 2017 (approximately $29 million). Olson also found that, across all industries, a much higher percentage of VC-backed, male-founded companies (35 percent) received at least one round of follow-on funding than female-founded companies (2 percent). With regard to exits, male-founded startups are acquired more than 11 percent of the time, while less than 0.5 percent of female-founded startups ever reach the same milestone. Male-founded companies also have a higher rate of IPO (nearly 1.7 percent) than female-founded startups (less than 1 percent).

 

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