When it comes to minority entrepreneurship, there is no ambition gap. Entrepreneurs of color are launching businesses at a rapid clip. However, those businesses struggle to grow. Here are the top 20 national initiatives and programs dedicated to helping minority founders take their business to the next level.
500 Startups - Though not exclusively focused on minority entrepreneurship, 500 Startups views diversity as a fundamental component of its model. With a presence on every inhabitable continent, it has an incredibly extensive network, as well as one of the most comprehensive programmatic offerings.
Bithouse - Committed to cultivating and encouraging inclusive societies, Bithouse is a mentorship-driven business development initiative supporting early stage women, minorities and EU founders. In addition to mentorship, the group organizes workshops, panels and events.
Black Female Founders - Based in Washington, D.C., Black Female Founders is a global community and membership organization for women-led tech ventures throughout the Black Diaspora. Just one year in, BFF has already expanded to convene national events and bring on additional local chapters.
Black Founders - With a mission to increase the number of successful black tech entrepreneurs, Black Founders’ programs include events, HBCU hackathons and conferences. Additionally, they are building a database of investment-ready enterprises to better link black startup founders to capital.
Change Catalyst - Alongside their Tech Inclusion program, which focuses on collaborating with the tech community to develop solutions to tech diversity, Change Catalyst operates a Startup Fellows Program. The program supports underrepresented entrepreneurs by connecting them with funding, investors, and mentorship.
City Start-up Labs - Exclusively focused on entrepreneurial education and venture incubation for young black men, City Start-up Labs conducts a 16-week boot camp where black male millennials learn how to research, plan, launch and operate their own ventures.
Code 2040 - While Code 2040 is best known for its coding and other tech-based skill development programs, it also has a robust offering of entrepreneurial programs. Their flagship initiative in this area is their residency program which is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs.
DivInc - With the goal being to champion diversity in the tech eco-system, DivInc offers immersive programming, weekly workshops, pitch coaching and investment readiness training. Additionally, participants are matched with a mentor and provided opportunities for both volunteering and networking.
Emprendedores USA - Relatively new to the scene, Emprendedores USA is building a database of Latino-owned small businesses across the country. Additionally, the site provides tips and information on events and other opportunities directed towards the Latino community.
Kapor Capital - This Oakland-based fund invests in companies at the intersection of tech and social impact. Currently, 28% of Kapor’s first-time investments have gone to companies with at least one founder from a racially underrepresented group. In addition to providing capital, Kapor Capital is a major sponsor of minority entrepreneurship programs across the country.
Latino Business Action Network - Operating in partnership with Stanford University, the Latino Business Action Network manages the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. Its flagship program is the Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Leaders Program - a six-week education course for business leaders interested in building highly scalable companies.
Manos Accelerator - Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, Manos Accelerator supports Latino entrepreneurs by providing them access to early-stage capital, mentorship and other resources necessary to grow a business. Manos also launched the first angel network in the nation focused exclusively on funding early stage high-tech startup companies founded by Latino entrepreneurs from the U.S. and Latin America.
Minority Business Development Agency - Operating out of the US Department of Commerce, MBDA promotes the growth of minority-owned business through the mobilization and advancement of public and private sector programs, policy, and research. The agency works directly with ready-to-scale minority owned firms though its 41 business centers which are distributed across the country.
National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC)- If you’re a minority entrepreneur looking to certify your business, this is where you start. With 24 affiliates across the country, NMSDC works to connect minority entrepreneurs to opportunities by linking them to large-scale corporations and other potential customers and clients they otherwise would not be able to access.
New Me Accelerator - Founded in 2011, NewME accelerates entrepreneurs through its online platform, residential “boot-camp” accelerators, and equity portfolio - an investment pool partly made up of accelerator alumni. To-date NewME has helped minority entrepreneurs raise over $25MM in funding.
PowerMoves - At PowerMoves, their goal is to increase the number of venture-backed minority companies. While they are best known for their events, the initiative also runs an early stage bootcamp, accelerator program for maturing companies as well as puts on regular pitch competitions.
Startup 52 - Though based out of NYC, this accelerator program has an international reach. While Startup 52 doesn’t focus exclusively on minority entrepreneurs, it looks favorably on teams that have at least one founder from an underrepresented group.
Tech Square Labs - This incubator and seed fund was founded by two successful minority entrepreneurs and is committed to building the future of diverse and inclusive tech talent. Code Start, one of Tech Square Labs' most innovative diversity programs, targets disconnected youth, ages 18-24.
Tech Stars - Easily one of the most dominant funders in the space, Tech Stars supports minority entrepreneurs through accelerators, community programs and venture capital. The global program is active in 600 cities, 120 countries and 6 continents, and has one of the largest startup networks in the world.
Transparent Collective - Through their educational events, Transparent Collective helps Black, Latino, Female, and other underrepresented founders access the resources they need to create successful companies.
Kelly Burton Ph.D. is an accomplished entrepreneur with over a decade’s experience launching and scaling start-up companies. She is the brains behind Founders of Color, a digital platform designed to help minority firms grow and is the CEO of its parent company Nexus Research Group, a social research firm that helps foundations and nonprofits do good in the world.
Follow Kelly Burton on Twitter and Instagram @iamkellyburton or at kellyburton.net.