Media giant Turner has solidified a partnership with startup hub Atlanta Tech Village to cross-collaborate and promote diversity in innovation. It’s the latest move by the fourth largest startup hub to expand their programming to a wider audience.
Maigh Houlihan, Technology and Community Catalyst at Turner, says the partnership is indicative of both parties commitment to building up Atlanta’s innovation scene.
“There was an article in Fortune that said Atlanta is the Silicon Valley of the south; well, I saw that and said, oh, but we’re the south — we’re hospitable, we’re warm, we have this great, welcoming culture,” says Houlihan “So I reached out to Karen [Houghton, of ATV] and said, don’t we want to be known for our own thing?”
“We don’t necessarily want to be the Silicon Valley of the south; we want to be Atlanta. We got to talking about a number of different ways we could support each other and support the startup community, and eventually it led to us becoming partners with ATV.”
They will trade resources in a way that benefits both parties, says Houlihan. Turner executives from different teams will be available to serve as coaches and mentors for Village startups.
“When you think about how to build for scale, I don’t think anyone knows as much about how to scale as CNN when it comes to covering inaugurations or elections,” says Houlihan. “So we’re looking at how do we take those lessons learned, that knowledge that we’ve picked up over the years, and pay it forward to the community?”
In turn, Turner employees will gain access to the Village. The media company, a “45-year old startup,” according to Houlihan, is working on multiple innovation initiatives of its own to address trends such as the rise of streaming.
The partnership also underscores the inclusion commitments of both organizations. Turner will allot a scholarship for a woman from a Village startup to attend the annual Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology conference.
“Diversity is a hugely important issue in tech, and our collaboration with Turner will open even more doors for our community,” says Houghton, who serves as the Village’s Vice President.
ATV also launched their own diversity-promoting initiative last year, the multi-stage “It Takes A Village” campaign. As part of that, they recently announced participants in the campaign’s first Pre-Accelerator program. The 10 early-stage startups in this cohort are founded by a woman or underrepresented founder and need help with their business goals, raising capital, or technology products.
At the end of the 6-month program the top founders will pitch to judges, investors, and the community at a Demo Day to seek a potential seed investment or client opportunities.
“We were really impressed by this group offFounders. Their mentality, passion, and willingness to be resourceful and persevered through limitations which included the lack of funds, having children, and working full-time jobs but still managing to build a company from scratch,” says Justin McLeod, ATV’s Diversity Coordinator.
Photos via Atlanta Tech Village