Google for Entrepreneurs and the are teaming up to put on a conference that they say will focus on “building and funding the best black led startups.”
The “Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange,” which the partners describe as “an immersion for black founders,” is set for Oct. 9-14.
The AU, which provides co-working and other services for the Triangle’s startup community and is home to more than 250 new to emerging entrepreneurial companies, says the conference represents a “first of its kind partnership.”
“From historical roots in Black Wall Street to American Underground’s commitment to build the most diverse startup hub in the world, this Exchange program made sense to be based here,” AU executive Adam Klein tells WRAL TechWire. “We’re excited to continue positioning our community as the Startup Hub of the South and a destination for founders from many backgrounds.”
In a Q&A about the event, phenomenal Klein says response has been “phenomenal” with investors interested in participating.
The conference will conclude with a “pitch” event at which participating startups make their case for funding.
Diversity, or what the AU describes as “inclusive innovation,” is a primary point of emphasis for the company, which is owned by WRAL TechWire parent Capitol Broadcasting Company. According to AU, almost 30 percent of its startups are led by women and some 22 percent of company founders among AU clients are from “underrepresented groups.”
“Durham’s American Underground will play host to this Exchange, connecting participants with investors, entrepreneurs and technologists that will provide tools and tips to help them through the fundraising process,” AU says.
“The week will culminate with Durham’s annual celebration of Black Wall Street Homecoming (in conjunction with HBCU [historically black colleges and universities) North Carolina Central University) which welcomes venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and others in the entrepreneurial community to Durham.”
AU launched in 2010 and was among the first entities to be a partner in Google’s Entrepreneurs program notes that the Exchange will address these key points:
- Prepare Black founders for an angel/seed stage round raise (ie less than $750k)
- Engage in conversation and provide useful tools around the unique challenges that face Black founders. This portion of the Exchange will involve thoughtful conversation between thought leaders and other Black founders to tackle the systemic and unconscious biases that will confront them while raising capital.
The program includes several opportunities for entrepreneurs to meet one-on-one with mentors and potential investors as well as to discuss their businesses.
NC IDEA praise
Thom Rhue, who heads the economic development group NC IDEA Foundation, praised the event and its potential impact.
“This is how to strengthen the entrepreneurial economy – start by inviting diverse groups to participate,” he tweeted when AU announced the program.
Here’s the event website: