On January 17 at WeWork Harlem, we had the very first TechinColor Live Facebook show organized by Chike Ukaegbu, the founder of Startup52, the only diversity focused tech accelerator in New York. I was honored to be invited there.
It started warmly with a toast followed by Chicke’s opening remark, then self introductions by the guests. As having diversity as a theme, guests with various background were called… an investor, entrepreneurs, a dancer, and even a pastor.
For a seed stage startup founder, questions and professional suggestions after a pitch are priceless. Sometime it induces a pivot. I received a few meaningful comments from Brandon Bryant, an investor from Harlem Capital Partners and Yin Lin, the founder at SheWorx after my pitch and Dominic ward, the senior lead and mentor at the startup52, offered to volunteer to test our system. Thank you all so much.
You can see the video here:
Tech in Color FB
Then we moved to discuss about diversity in tech and startup industries. The challenge Chike brought up this time is how we can neutralize the negative effects of unconscious/implicit bias.
do not try to push them up, we just go higher.
But nothing is harder than “neutralizing” people with a biased belief. Think about having a debate with a man who writes Why Diversity Is Bad For Startups. Numbers, research results or stats won’t change his mind. Or maybe? Anyway it is not the most effective way to start working on this type of person to change the world. In sum, a strategy we could come up with was “do not try to push them up, we just go higher.”
Instead of approaching people with bias, we should offer flavorful opportunities to people who are willing to work hard and believe that a diversified team is stronger. Startup 52 is doing so by supporting minority startup founders, and SheWorx is doing so by empowering female entrepreneurs. And I am very positive that what they do work and show results. Majority will follow the people who shows positive results and successes. This will bring a change to a community, and to the world eventually.