August 4, 2015
President Obama made major headlines today as he hosted America’s first ever White House Demo Day. It’s a massive event similar to any other demo day, the main difference being the fact that President Obama oversees the whole thing and will incorporate announcements and new commitments from attending investors, companies, universities, and cities.
The roster of people attending is beyond impressive, and among the cohort of big names is one everybody knows: Techstars. Cofounder of the accelerator David Brown is on the ground in Washington DC attending the event on behalf of the accelerator.
However, Brown isn’t there to just schmooze with people – his role goes far beyond that. In fact, he’s there to let people know that Techstars has today officially committed to doubling participation from women and underrepresented groups in their accelerator program over the next four years.
“The topic of diversity (or lack thereof) is a hot one in our industry,” reads the official Techstars blog post about the announcement. “We know the numbers are not good across the board and we all need to step up to make them better.”
Techstars has long been committed to improving opportunities for underserved groups throughout the global tech ecosystem, and they want to open the door for entrepreneurship everywhere as they keep building traction. To that end, in an effort to advance inclusiveness in the entrepreneurial world, Techstars today committed to:
- Double the number of women in our accelerator program applicant pool and across our mentor network over four years
- Track participation in our programs by underrepresented minorities and double that from the baseline over the same time period
- Publish our diversity data annually
- Train staff on ‘unconscious bias’ and ensure that every selection committee includes at least two women so that female founders are represented in the selection process
Throughout their journey Techstars has maintained a continual partnership with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). As a key player of the NCWIT’s national entrepreneurship strategy, Techstars will set aggressive goals like this to help foster internal change.
“We will offer access, membership, and resources to the over 600 companies in our portfolio and to the 200 companies we add annually. Additionally, we will offer mentorship opportunities between our Managing Directors and our extensive network of founders to the technical women in the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Community,” says Brown in the post.
That strong sense of change is something they’ve also chosen to focus inward. Outside of their partnership with the NCWIT and their appearance at the White House Demo Day, Techstars will also be expanding their Rising Stars program to open the door for more underrepresented founders across the globe.
When you take a minute to step back and look at how this all fits into the bigger picture it’s very uplifting. You see, Techstars is a name that pretty much everyone knows in the tech world, and we’re witnessing them lead by example: their prominent exposure can be a model for other, smaller companies who look up to them.
Image Credit: Techstars Twitter page
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