Rutgers CUEED wins $300K federal grant for Black and Latino tech initiative

Rutgers Business School’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development has received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to strengthen its efforts to build Black- and Latino-owned tech businesses, it announced this week.

The Build to Scale Capital Challenge grant was awarded to CUEED’s Black and Latino Technology Angel Investment Fund of New Jersey, Rutgers said in a news release. The fund is one of CUEED’s initiatives aimed at empowering entrepreneurs, strengthening urban communities and creating greater inclusion in the innovation sector, the school added.

“The Build to Scale grant completes the desired P-3 trifecta of funding from the public sector, a noteworthy philanthropic organization and individuals in the private sector,” Lyneir Richardson, executive director of the CUEED, said in a prepared statement. “All are committed now, with real money, to make early stage capital available to fuel tech startups and growth companies led by Black and Latino entrepreneurs.”

He added that he views the grant as a “vote of confidence” in the fund.

The grant money will be paid as $100,000 annually for three years. It will support the expansion of the fund by helping to recruit more private-sector investors and expanding the ability of entpreneurs to access early-stage risk capital, the CUEED said.

The fund was created through a $500,000 commitment from a group of individuals affiliated with Rutgers and the CUEED, the center noted.

“The angel fund seeks to change the fact that less than 1% of all high-growth technology startups are led by African Americans or Latinos,” CUEED wrote in its grant proposal. “Research has shown that entrepreneurs of color have difficulty getting accepted into top tech startup accelerators and security early-stage growth capital.”

The U.S. EDA awarded Build to Scale grants to 52 organization in 36 states, including the CUEED.