Startup accelerators offer all the resources that founders need to quickly scale their early-stage businesses, including: mentorship, education and programming, capital, and networking opportunities. Unfortunately, there is a prevalent inequality in the venture capital world for technology startups. Currently, only 2% of all venture capital goes to minority founders. Accelerators can help increase the chances of success for startups. As a result, increasing minority representation in accelerators is an important step in advancing equity and diversity in the startup community.
Bamboo is committed to being a welcoming home to all founders. We hope to see this change in coming years and welcome more resources and programs to uplift and create equity for minority founders. Below are nine different programs and resources to know for supporting your journey.
1. Techstars Equity Tech Accelerator 📍Baltimore, MD A program launched in 2021, headquartered in Baltimore, the equitech accelerator is led by Detroit native Monica Wheat investing in companies that are grounded in values of diversity and led by underestimated founders. Also, they are seeking companies that increase equity across society.
2. Backstage Capital [currently paused] 📍Multiple Locations Bamboo was proud to be the Detroit partner for Backstage Capital’s Accelerator program. Backstage Capital was one of the first venture capital firms investing in underestimated founders: women, LGBTQ, immigrant, and minority founders. The firm invests in primarily software, hardware, CPG, and ecommerce companies. Keep an eye out for future programs and events from Backstage Capital.
3. Hillman Accelerator 📍Cincinnati, OH The Hillman Accelerator in Cincinnati has been a staple for underestimated founders. Now Hilman has partnered up with Lightship Capital to offer bootcamps, accelerator programs, and investment to underestimated founders. They are primary supporting companies in the CPG, E-commerce, Sustainability, AI, and Healthcare spaces.
Dreamit then offers support for female entrepreneurs, including mentorship from top executives in technology and intros to female investors. This can be another great opportunity for founders to participate in.
5. Google For Startups – Black Founder Accelerator 📍 Virtual Google for Startups has launched a special program for Black founders. You can participate in a 10 week digital accelerator if you are a Seed to Series A tech startup based in North America. This program is designed to help bring together the best of Google’s programs, products, people and technology to help founders thrive. Expect mentorship, technical support, and workshops around important topics like product design.
6.Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab 📍 New York, NY Morgan Stanley provides an in-house startup accelerator in order to promote financial inclusion. Their goal is to get early stage technology or technology-enabled companies led by women and multicultural entrepreneurs access to capital. To date they’ve helped their companies receive $80 Million in capital at a combined valuation of $400 Million.
7.Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator run by Gener8tor 📍 Milwaukee, WI Gener8tor is widely known as one of the Midwest’s top accelerator programs. This accelerator was launched in partnership with Northwestern Mutual in order to support black founders. Participants receive $100,000 cash investment, office space, mentorship, and more.
8. Accenture Black Founders Development Program 📍 Unspecified With a mission to level the playing field for black technology startup founders, this program provides a mix of investment, mentorship and community support. Accenture provides corporate mentorship and strategic connections to their existing business partners, clients, and people.
📍 Virtual A virtual, student-led accelerator focused on diverse founders. This is a unique program being student led but one with a great reputation. Their goal is to help create a world where anyone regardless of their background can receive access to founders, investors, and operators to help bring an idea to life. Eight companies can participate and receive 12 weeks of workshops from top companies and investors.