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As part of the Founder Institute’s effort to support entrepreneurship diversity, and Black American founders in particular, we were pleased to welcome Mariah Lichtenstern and Harold Hughes for an open discussion on How Startup Organizations can Help Black American Entrepreneurs on Tuesday, August 18th (11am PDT) for a live, interactive webinar event focused on diversity and inclusion in the American entrepreneurial ecosystem.

With systemic racism currently at the forefront of the American consciousness, many corporations have pledged their support for Black Americans. But how can these organizations, and specifically those that help entrepreneurs, make real internal changes that actually lead to meaningful long term results? What are the specific challenges that Black American entrepreneurs face along each step of their startup journey, and what measures can accelerators, investors, and other organizations put in place to help?

The Founder Institute has tried to think deliberately about these challenges internally, but wants to continue to improve. To date, FI has announced dedicated open office hours for Black American entrepreneurs; as well as borrowed methodologies from our Female Founder Initiative, which has helped to significantly increase the number of women business leaders in our accelerator programs, in order to launch the new Black American Founder Fellowship for all of our U.S. chapters. The Founder Institute has worked to highlight the growing strength of Black American entrepreneurship despite the ongoing racial disparities, to compiled a list of external resources and organizations that are actively supporting Black American founders, and to highlighted Black American entrepreneurs from within our network who are already making waves in their respective industries. 


About the Speakers

Mariah Lichtenstern: Aspen Tech Policy Fellow at The Aspen Institute, Founding Partner at DiverseCity Ventures - At the intersection of technology, entertainment, and venture capital, Mariah Lichtenstern accelerates social, economic, and environmental impact through entrepreneurship. Mariah is the Founding Partner of DiverseCity Ventures and Managing Director of the Founder Institute, Sacramento Chapter. She is a member of UCLA Ventures, and serves as an advisor for CalSEED CleanTech Fund, Berkeley SkyDeck, and Village Capital Finance Forward US 2019. An alumna of UC Berkeley, USC, and UCLA, she is passionate about solving the wealth, wage, and funding gaps by building equitable bridges between those with privilege and those with valuable, but underutilized perspectives.

Harold Hughes: Founder & CEO of BANDWAGON, Venture Partner at Republic - Harold Hughes is the founder & CEO of Bandwagon, an analytics and identity management company that helps teams and entertainers create more personalized fan experiences while eliminating ticket fraud. A rising star in sports tech, Harold has had his ideas validated as a graduate (and now mentor) of the Founder Institute Greenville chapter; graduate of Capital Factory – Austin, one of the inaugural companies in Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange Program, and most recently the IBM Blockchain Accelerator. Harold also serves as a Venture Partner at Republic, a  member of the Dean's Senior Advisory Board at Clemson University and University of South Carolina Upstate, a Fellow with the Notley Fellowship, and more.

Full webinar below:


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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $950M in funding, and building products people love across over 185 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey.

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