Groundbreaking new program seeks to fund tech start-up founders from underserved communities
SEATTLE, WA --- Find Ventures, a Washington state-based nonprofit whose mission is to fund entrepreneurs, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Commerce, today launched a new Equitable innovations Accelerator to fuel the start-up community at the earliest stage of business development. This program aims to make “entrepreneurship for all” a reality by prioritizing entrepreneurs from underserved and historically marginalized communities.
The Equitable Innovations Accelerator is a first-of-its-kind program to provide 10 technology start-ups with up to $100,000 in non-dilutive philanthropic grants, programming and access to mentors and coaches.
“Access to first financing rounds is difficult for a brand-new start-up founder, especially if they are Black, Latinx, Indigenous, people of color, women, LGBTQIA+ or non-binary. Accessing start-up funding verges on impossible for those without connections to mentors, investors, talent and resources,” said Find Ventures co-founder, Elizabeth Scallon. “Find Ventures wants to change that paradigm.”
This program is directly aligned with the Commerce’s focus and investment in an equitable economic recovery. The accelerator is one of Commerce’s Safe Start projects that are supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
“Find Ventures and the Washington State Department of Commerce share a vision and passion to create a world where all entrepreneurs have an opportunity to build companies and a confident shot at solving our greatest challenges, especially those who have struggled to access traditional sources of capital,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “The Equitable Innovations Accelerator is one of several efforts where Commerce is partnering with the private sector to support new businesses at the earliest stage of development and promote an equitable statewide economic recovery.”
Financial support for the Equitable Innovations Accelerator Fund is currently being secured from private donors and will be distributed to start-up founders through the accelerator program. “Donating to the Find Ventures Founders Fund will ensure that equitable investment opportunities for Washington’s entrepreneurial community is accessible to all,” said Justin Brotman, co-founder of Find Ventures. Fundraising efforts are underway to finalize the fund. Potential donors are encouraged to visit https://www.findventures.org/equitable-innovator-accelerator/.
Business founders accepted into the accelerator program from potential venture-scale tech startups will demonstrate their diverse executive leadership, will have a minimum viable product or a product representing tech transfers from Washington-based research institutions, will be under $1 million in annual revenue, and headquartered in Washington.
The Equitable Innovations Accelerator will run through 2022. Find Ventures has contracted with the Washington Technology Industry Association to support the programming of the accelerator. In addition to business technical skills training, the cohort will also undergo experiential learning to develop their leadership in both their companies and in the community.
Application information events: Dec. 6 and Jan. 14
The application for the Equitable Innovations Accelerator can be found at www.findventures.org/equitable-innovator-accelerator/. Business founders and entrepreneurs who may have experienced difficulty gaining access to traditional sources of capital are especially encouraged to apply. Two optional information events are scheduled for prospective applicants: Dec. 6 and Jan. 14, 2022. Find the registration links here: www.findventures.org/equitable-innovator-accelerator/.