EDA, digitalundivided sponsor program: Removing Barriers for Diverse Entrepreneurs

Instagram Live chat on April 7 will discuss access to capital, proposed state Black and Latina Seed Fund

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority will partner with Newark-based nonprofit digitalundivided on April 7 for “Removing Barriers for Diverse Entrepreneurs,” an Instagram Live event that will highlight public and private resources available to entrepreneurs of color.

The event will take place at 6 p.m.

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan and digitalundivided CEO Lauren Maillian will discuss ways their organizations are working to increase access to capital for minority-owned businesses. They also will discuss initiatives created to empower Black and Latino founders, foster equitable entrepreneurship and create the most diverse innovation ecosystem in the country.

Sullivan will also provide an overview of New Jersey’s proposed Black and Latino Seed Fund, which will focus on driving capital to Black- and Latino-owned enterprises. Gov. Phil Murphy has proposed a $10 million Fiscal Year 2022 budget allocation to create the fund.

The subject of the talk certainly is relevant — and crucial.

Nationwide, the innovation economy is facing a diversity crisis. According to Crunchbase, American companies raised a record-setting $150 billion in venture capital funding in 2020, but less than 1% of this went to Black-owned companies.

The numbers are even worse for women. According to digitalundivided’s ProjectDiane, Black and Latino women received just 0.64% of total venture capital investment between 2018 and 2019.

Digitalundivided is a nonprofit, social startup that leverages data and advocacy to catalyze economic growth for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs in innovation and technology.

The group says its goal is to create a world in which all women of color own their work. Digitalundivided merges data and heart to change the trajectories of women’s lives. It serves as a connector and a catalyst, supporting Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs through best-in-class programming, mentorship, training, resources and investment.