A new program will educate students at historically black universities in the United States about becoming tech investors. Hadiyah Mujhid, co-founder of Black Founders started HBCU.vc in partnership with some of Silicon Valley’s top black investors, according to Black Enterprise. The program is currently choosing their first pool of students and will be launching for the 2017-2018 academic year.
“Our mission is to increase the number of black entrepreneurs starting tech companies. We do this by helping these entrepreneurs gain access to investment dollars and mentors,” HBCU.vc writes on their website. “We’re looking for students, both grad and undergrad, who are passionate about entrepreneurship, startups, and technology to join our mission. Our student investor program is a unique opportunity for students at historically black colleges to learn about startup investing and to build a startup community on their campus.”
Mujhid’s initiative addresses the lack of diversity and representation in tech, something that has come to light in recent years. According to the National Science Foundation, 84% of people employed in science and engineering jobs in the United States are white or Asian males. And with less than 1% of tech companies with black founders receiving venture capital, black entrepreneurs are left out of the equation. Mujhid told Black Enterprises that she hopes the students will use their investment knowledge to support innovation in their communities.
“Our student investment team will be making a direct impact in their own community by helping to fund these startups and gain venture experience at the same time,” she said.
In the United States, $6.8 billion was spent on digital media in 2015, making it just one of the growing industries taking over the startup landscape. According to HBCU.vc’s website, students will learn the basics of investing in startups like these and how to vet venture capital applications. They will also receive direct mentorship and networking with industry professionals. Mujid told Black Enterprises that students will receive this training virtually and through video calls for the duration of the five week program.
“Students will work with entrepreneurs to understand their product and needs, and then they will present the deal to our investment partners for funding,” she said.
While applications are currently closed for the program’s inaugural year, you can learn more about the project and its partners on HBCU.vc’s website.