It’s no secret that the start-up world, specifically in the tech space, is dominated by men – white men. Click most “About Us” pages for these companies and those demographics stare back. A Pew Research Center 2018 report confirms this; it shows that women, African Americans and Hispanics are not only under-represented, but often discriminated against in the tech industry.
Thursday night at downtown St. Pete’s Station House, local tech will tell another story. That night, Tampa Bay Wave – based mostly on the other side of the Howard Frankland Bridge in Tampa – is presenting a pitch night for the first cohort of its TechDiversity Accelerator. The cohort will also have the opportunity to take a walking tour of St. Pete businesses with the St. Pete Economic Development Corporation (EDC) prior to the pitch night, said Shane Needham, Interim Director of Communications at Tampa Bay Wave.
Tampa Bay Wave is one of several area accelerators working with early stage companies to build, launch and grow their tech businesses. However, The Wave’s TechDiversity Accelerator sets itself apart in a major way – it is a first-of-its-kind is initiative to specifically target diverse start-ups – defined as as 51 percent minority, woman, LGBT or veteran-owned.
The program is a partnership with the Nielsen Foundation, which awarded Tampa Bay Wave a $100,000 grant to stand up the accelerator to bridge the opportunity gap by creating growth opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. Of the 10 companies represented in the accelerator, seven have minority CEOs/co-founders, and seven have women CEOs/co-founders. Their businesses represent cutting-edge technology in health/health care, education and human resources.
On Thursday, the Wave’s cohort of businesses will pitch their start-ups to a crowd of entrepreneurs, mentors and investors. The Catalyst will be in attendance, recording video profiles and covering the event. Find us in our Catalyst t-shirts and tell us about your business.
The night will feature opportunities for networking and socializing before and after the big pitch. Registration is free and open. Register here.
Meet the TechDiversity Cohort in the gallery below.
eTeki, based in Tampa, Florida. a technical interviews-as-a-service platform, validates the skills & competency of candidates for clients without the time, expertise or headcount. Recruiters submit candidates with confidence; hiring managers invest only in vetted talent. IT candidates get and deserve high touch screening.
Articulate Labs, based in Dallas, Texas. Articulate Labs develops wearable medical devices that help turn everyday activity into convenient, on-the-go rehabilitation assistance by integrating neuromuscular electrical stimulation, motion-tracking hardware and machine learning.