In response to the ongoing national conversation, NexusLA has taken a stance against “the tyranny, oppression, and violence that persons of color face as targets of systemic racism in our country” while pledging to address racial disparities within Baton Rouge’s technology-based entrepreneurial ecosystem through a list of action items.
The organization, a subsidiary of Research Park Corporation, on Tuesday released a prepared statement pointing to “glaring inequalities” between black and white tech entrepreneurs, including a Founder Institute report showing that black employees fill only 2% of senior positions at venture capital firms and a Wired article reporting that, in 2017, only 9% of college students graduating with a degree in computer science were black.
So far, NexusLA has identified the following action items to pursue:
• Create a new website section to highlight resources for black entrepreneurs, such as online forums, minority entrepreneur support programs and funders that target minority owners;
• Seek out black mentors to help advise and grow Louisiana’s black-owned entrepreneurial ventures, especially as they prepare to raise funding;
• Host new virtual interactive events to discuss Equity in Entrepreneurship topics and collaborate on new ideas to improve the diversity of Louisiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem;
• Work with strategic community partners throughout the state to increase the number of minority applicants to NexusLA’s Apprenti Louisiana program;
• Further expand NexusLA’s BizTech Fellows and Challenge programs;
• Donate funds and youth mentorship to organizations that are providing opportunities for low- to moderate-income youth to learn about STEM career fields and entrepreneurship.