Technology’s rising tide – in the U.S. generally, and in Los Angeles specifically – definitely lifts a lot of boats. But there’s a long way to go before the old adage can be invoked to include all boats.
AnnenbergTech and PledgeLA, key initiatives of the Annenberg Foundation, are invested in the work of accelerating access and mobility for traditionally underrepresented groups, and have recently partnered with HBCUvc and others to increase opportunities for Black and Latinx innovators.
HBCUvc founder and CEO Hadiyah Mujhid (pictured above, photo by Bailey, Garrot, and Socap) was profiled in Forbes, expounding on her approach as well as the recent partnership with PledgeLA and other organizations to onboard intern cohorts with LA venture capitalists as well as provide equity-free grants to promising startups. The community has come together around creating pathways to opportunity and can be seen tackling the stark disparities these collaborations are designed to overcome:
Beatriz Acevedo, entrepreneur and Vice-Chair of PledgeLA, said that it is privilege to be able to support well-deserving Black and Latinx founders with non-dilutive capital with the support of her family’s foundation, (The Acevedo Foundation), Grid110, Plug In South LA, the Latino Chamber of Commerce.
Nevertheless, continued support is essential. “These founders have innovative ideas to build and grow businesses – this will open more doors in our community. Mentorship only takes you so far, and eventually, these founders will need capital – only 6 – 7 percent is available to Latinx and Black founders in our LA VC world. Economic mobility needs to be at the heart of our efforts, particularly post-COVID-19 when our communities of color have been the most affected by this pandemic,”” said Avecedo.
As detailed by HBCUvc, as a part of that continued support, the six entrepreneurs who were awarded the grants will receive two years of free banking, legal consultation, and access to an online platform with valuable information about company-building, events, and other resources made possible by AnnenbergTech, Cooley and First Republic Bank.