Attention, tech entrepreneurs: Rutgers’ Black and Latino pre-accelerator is taking applications (deadline is Feb. 28)

By Eric Strauss
Newark | Feb 7, 2019 at 10:27 am

Rutgers University’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development is accepting applications for the 2019 cohort of its Black and Latino Tech Initiative pre-accelerator program, it announced Thursday.

The second annual program aims to provide black and Latino startup owners and founders with training, mentorship, networking and funding access.

“BLT is the first university-based program in the tri-state area that’s focused on getting capital to tech-enabled startups which are led by entrepreneurs of color,” Lyneir Richardson, executive director of the center, said in a prepared statement. “Participants will not only receive guidance on marketing, finance and entrepreneurship from professors at our No. 1-rated Rutgers Business School, they’ll also have an opportunity to pitch their business plans to an angel investor network. In addition, two entrepreneurs will be awarded $10,000 prizes by Rutgers.”

The first cohort, in 2018, included 11 entrepreneurs. One, PeduL — an online platform where students can raise money for education — received seed investment from IDT Ventures, a Newark accelerator. Another, WearWorks — an accessory company for blind and visually impaired people — received more than $250,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation and other sources.

“BLT is a wonderful opportunity for minority owners of tech startups to connect with other people of color who are building their companies, and also to get access to capital and resources,” Keith Kirkland, WearWorks’ co-founder, said in a statement. “Having Rutgers as a partner in the building of WearWorks has been hugely valuable, and I invite all black and Latino tech entrepreneurs to become involved with the BLT program.”

The 2019 program begins March 25 and ends in May, with sessions from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Rutgers Business School in Newark.

Applicants must be in the ideation stage, not have been accepted into a formal accelerator, have revenues less than $100,000 and five or fewer employees.

For more information, or to apply, click here. The deadline is Feb. 28.

Eric Strauss | estrauss@roi-nj.com | acerimrat