Global accelerator program Techstars has been committed to leading the startup world in discussions about diversity — or lack thereof — in entrepreneurship. In 2015, they announced a far-reaching diversity commitment, an organization-wide declaration “to improve opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities throughout our global ecosystem and open the door to entrepreneurs everywhere.”
The latest in this effort is last week’s announcement of a new partnership with digitalundivided, the Atlanta-based entrepreneurship incubator focused on high-potential black and Latinx women entrepreneurs.
digitalundivided’s BIG Incubator takes up to 20 founders through 30 weeks of education, programming and investor connections, all in an effort to improve the dismal statistics the organization tracks in its annual ProjectDiane report. This year’s report found that women of color raised less than one percent of all venture capital.
The announcement was made at the 2018 BIG incubator Demo Day, which was attended by Techstars representatives. The partnership will help increase representation of women of color founders across the gamut of Techstars programs, including their startup accelerators, Techstars Startup Weekends, and Techstars Startup Weeks.
“This year Techstars has expanded our focus on diversity and inclusion, and our partnership with digitalundivided is one of the ways we will achieve on that commitment,” said Jason Thompson, Techstars’ VP of Diversity & Inclusion, in a blog announcing the partnership.
According to the accelerator, diversity is simply good business. Companies with high gender and race/ethnic diversity are significantly more likely to perform above the average in their industry.
digitalundivided’s founders often enter the accelerator at the idea stage, and the vast majority have taken no previous outside funding to build their businesses. The organization reports that since its founding in 2013, it has helped founders raise over $25 million in funding.
During Demo Day, digitalundivided also announced its inaugural incubator program in Newark, NJ, and plans to expand to three additional locations in 2020. Both the Newark and Atlanta 2019 cohorts will begin in Q1 of next year.