Editor’s note: Jesica Averhart is director of Community Partnerships/New Business Development, American Underground. 

DURHAM, N.C. – For the past two years, the Google for Entrepreneurs program has partnered with the American Underground network of startup companies to recognize and foster entrepreneurial talent in the Triangle. As part of our collaboration, we’ve shared ideas and worked to develop programs informed by the successes we’ve built for our ecosystem.

Last week, our teams unveiled the CODE2040 Residency Program, Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs.

Our team at the Underground will work with Google and the CODE2040 program to identify and host an “Entrepreneur-in-Residence” for a year. The EIR will be a Black or Latino/a entrepreneur who will work to build connections with minority-led startups and help to create a more diverse tech ecosystem.

This program is the result of our relationship with Google for Entrepreneurs and its tech hub program. After recognizing the American Underground’s dedication to creating opportunity for all, GFE and CODE2040 selected AU as one of just three tech hubs in the country to pilot this program. The American Underground is the only hub participating on the East Coast. 

We believe that Durham is uniquely-positioned to set a national model for better integrating diversity in tech.  
We believe that diversity inevitably creates better and stronger companies that will impact the economy in better ways. The EIR program is a game-changing step in that direction and will align very well with the work that is already being done by organizations like NCIMED, the Durham Chamber of Commerce, Made in Durham, East Durham Children’s Initiative, and others.

We need the help and diligence of our community to make the most of this opportunity. We are currently seeking candidates to apply for the position. 

Eligibility criteria includes that the candidate self-Identify as a Black or Latino/a, be a current resident of the city in which they will be an EIR, be an entrepreneur, and be committed to impacting the racial, ethnic, and gender makeup of their local tech sector.  

The EIR will receive $40,000 in seed capital to help grow their business, work space in the American Underground, a trip to the Googleplex in Silicon Valley for Google- and CODE2040-led training and networking, mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs in the Google for Entrepreneurs and CODE2040 networks, and support from CODE2040 on the creation of community  impact through diversity, inclusion, and community. 

Applications are open until February 17, 2015.

To apply, visit: http://www.code2040.org/entrepreneurs