Recently, the Kapor Center for Social Impact, Devlabs, and the City of Oakland announced the launch of a new initiative to support Oakland-based tech entrepreneurs. The initiative was created as a web of service providers and resources to reduce the barriers to entrepreneurship for underserved and underrepresented entrepreneurs in Oakland.(Image: Oakland Startup Network)
Black Enterprise caught up with Lili Gangas, Chief Technology Community Officer at the Kapor Center for Social Impact to tell us all about the new Oakland Startup Network initiative. “The goal is to bring in a lot of the other ecosystem players in Oakland that are focused on increasing the number of underrepresented entrepreneurs,” says, Gangas.
So what exactly will the network do? The goal is to provide a number of resources, including boot camps, workshops, Startup Weekends, technical instruction, meetups, founders’ roundtables, and accelerator introductions for local tech entrepreneurs. It aims to increase the number and success rate of tech startups launched in Oakland by women and people of color, providing a significant opportunity to augment access to social and financial capital.
“We want to make sure that we are bringing in a vetted network of high-quality service providers, entrepreneurs, and investors; people who have the credibility and the experience to really provide the necessary mentorship resources, access, and funding,” said Gangas.
The Network received a grant totaling $420,000 from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. This grant was specifically awarded to fund select organizations that help female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color achieve higher rates of success. It was one of a dozen nonprofit entrepreneur support efforts selected by the Kauffman Foundation from over 375 applicants across the nation.
The intention is to establish Oakland as a model for diverse entrepreneurship and create replicable programming for other communities.
For more information on the Oakland Startup Network, visit oaklandstartup.net
Sequoia Blodgett is the Technology Editor for Black Enterprise, Silicon Valley. She is also the founder of 7AM, a lifestyle, media platform, focused on personal development, guided by informed, pop culture.