When it comes to entrepreneurship, women of color have made remarkable strides in the past few years, but on the whole, they still represent a disproportionately small number of business owners. But now, a new artificial intelligence platform is seeking to correct this disparity. Meet Alice.
Alice is a web-based AI that was created by Circular Board, a virtual startup accelerator that has helped over 200 entrepreneurs, particularly female entrepreneurs, raise $28 million in collaboration with Dell and Pivotal.
“We started with a virtual accelerator program,” Carolyn Rodz, the founder and
CEO of Circular Board told Black enterprise. “What was interesting through that process was that not only were we attracting women from all over the world, but we had almost 50% minority women which was really exciting to us. And we started to realize that the diversity issue that we see in the ecosystem is really more about getting outside of the bubble. ”
This bubble has long been a burden for women of color when starting a business. In a 2016 article, Time Businessnoted that one of the primary reasons businesses of color grow more slowly than those started by white men was because women of color struggled more to find outside funding.
The article also mentions a study from the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College which showed that less than 3% of start ups funded by venture capital had a female chief executive.
But the disadvantages faced by women of color go beyond funding. There exists very little infrastructure to teach women of color how to su
ccessfully launch their first business. Without those resources, these women face a steep uphill battle to financial success.
The Alice platform is designed to provide these resources, whether you need a mentor to help you understand the specifics of financial planning or managing data, and even give tips for your web design, because in a world where 94% of people believe that poor web design is a reason not to trust a business, no matter is too small to contribute to the success of a growing company.
Alice users will have access to more than just information. Because Alice is a learning machine, it can learn to anticipate needs and provide referrals, access points to capital, and more.
“What excites me a lot about the work we do with Circular Board in general and specifically through Alice is the ability to pull women in and get them connected to these accelerator programs, to these co-working space, so that they become part of the conversations that are being had.”