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The Important Role Accelerators and Incubators Play in Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in Tech

Note: The following was originally posted by Change Catalyst on October 10, 2016. 


The tech industry is at a massive crossroads toward increasing diversity in the tech workforce and creating inclusive cultures. Often the diversity in tech conversation is discussed along two primary topics. One being the low numbers of women and minorities employed at tech companies. The second focused on how few underrepresented minorities raise angel or venture capital.

But what if we could start over in tech? What if the next Google, Twitter, Snapchat or Facebook was founded by a woman or a diverse founder? The hypothesis suggests that if tech companies were founded by diverse founders then the tech industry would be more diverse.

While the tech industry can’t start over we can provide more educational, mentoring and funding opportunities for current and future diverse founders. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is by having more diverse founders join accelerators and incubators along with participating in inclusion focused startup programs.

Like tech companies, incubators and accelerators traditionally haven’t been inclusive or had a high participation rate of women and racially-diverse founders. Two programs that hope to dramatically impact how incubators and accelerators create inclusive entrepreneurship are taking place in Boston and San Francisco, hosted respectively, by ICIC and Change Catalyst.

ICIC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to drive economic prosperity in America’s inner cities through private sector investment to create jobs, income and wealth for local residents. ICIC is hosting Catalyzing Inclusivity in Incubators and Accelerators Conference on October 27th in Boston, MA. To address the need for incubators and accelerators to focus on inclusion, the conference will have panels including those titled: “New findings on the barriers for women and minority entrepreneurs in incubators and accelerators,” “Public investments in incubators and accelerators,” “Effective strategies to create inclusive incubators and accelerators,” and more.

Featured speakers include Scott Bailey, Managing Director for Boston with MassChallenge, Professor Jeffrey A. Robinson with The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development at Rutgers University, and Kirstie Chadwick, President and CEO of the International Business Innovation Association.

ICIC believes: “Until the tech industry fully engages women and minority entrepreneurs, incubators and accelerators will not truly jumpstart urban entrepreneurship.”

You can explore the full conference agenda and register here. You can follow the conference via social media using the #AccelerateInclusivity hashtag, on Twitter at @icicorg, and on Facebook.

With Change Catalyst the focus is to empower diverse, inclusive and sustainable tech innovation — through Tech Inclusion and Startup Ecosystem programs. We partner with the tech community to solve diversity and inclusion together through conferences, career fairs, strategic consulting and training. Our work spans the full tech ecosystem, including: Education, Workplace, Entrepreneurship and Policy.

Change Catalyst is hosting the Tech Inclusion Conference, Career Fair and Startup Showcase on October 26th-27th in San Francisco, CA. At the Tech Inclusion conference you’ll experience inclusive and accessible design, find diverse talent, learn new solutions to diversity and inclusion, meet underrepresented entrepreneurs and investors, speak with policy makers and educators, and network with recruiters and other people who care about creating change in the tech ecosystem.

During the conference ten (10) underrepresented founders will have the opportunity to pitch on stage to diverse investors, tech leaders and startup experts. Startup coaches will be on hand to share more about how accelerators and incubators are supporting diverse founders and creating access to capital opportunities.

Judges include Monique Woodard, Venture Partner at 500 Startups, Ryan Hoover, Founder at Product Hunt, John Lyman, Partner at GV and Trevor Thomas-Uribe, General Partner at Cross Culture Ventures, among others.

Featured conference speakers include, Dustin Moskovitz, Co-founder of Asana, David Drummond Senior Vice President Of Corporate Development for Alphabet, Kinjil Mathur, Chief Marketing Officer at Foursquare and Claire Lee, Head of Early Stage Banking at Silicon Valley Bank.

You can register and learn more about the Tech Inclusion Conference here. You can follow the conference via social media using the #techinclusion16 hashtag, on Twitter at @techinclusionco and on Facebook.



ICIC drives inclusive economic prosperity in under-resourced communities through innovative research and programs to create jobs, income, and wealth for local residents.


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