Since last Spring, local serial entrepreneur Doug Speight has spent his time propelling growth and diversity within Durham’s startup community. This task is paired with a prominent position in the tech scene, as the city’s second CODE2040 entrepreneur-in-residence—part of a San Francisco-headquartered nonprofit that expanded to Durham’s American Underground in 2015. The program empowers black and latino entrepreneurs to boost diversity in their tech communities, while also continuing to grow their companies with help from a $40,000 grant.

This was a benefit for Speight and his current startup Cathedral Leasing, B2B online marketplace for equipment leasing. But he also grasped opportunity to champion the growth and support of Durham’s minority-led startups.

Speight’s residency in 2016 continued the legacy of Talib Graves-Manns, the first to hold the CODE2040 EIR position in Durham. His efforts in 2015 included opening access to opportunities for local HBCU students to pursue tech careers and education, and launching an event called Black Wall Street Homecoming, which celebrates the historic financial district that served to expand and flourish Durham’s black communities, while simultaneously boosting Durham’s economic growth to a whole new level.

As the 2016 EIR, Speight continued this momentum. And throughout the year, he continually witnessed how diversity within Durham’s companies, industries and universities is an asset that contributes to the city’s growth.

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Doug Speight Reflects On His Year As Durham’s CODE2040 Entrepreneur-In-Residence