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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Diversity Push for Tech Startups at White House Demo Day

Tech entrepreneurs who are relatively new in the industry were given a much needed push for diversity by President Obama in the recent White House Demo Day, which was well-attended by 30 startup teams and several big leaders in the industry including diversity company, Microsoft.

Obama spoke at the first-ever White House Demo Day, an event that brought a handful of entrepreneurs to Washington to showcase the products, services and applications they are trying to build businesses around. The White House marked the occasion by announcing a string of commitments from businesses, investors, cities and universities aimed at furthering what the administration is calling "inclusive entrepreneurship." - Read more at

The announcements come at a time when the technology industry has been scrutinized for its lack of diversity. On average, 30 percent of the tech industry workforce is women, even though women make up 59 percent of the total workforce and 51 percent of the population, according to US Census Bureau data. As for the most-coveted spots at the top, only 14.3 percent of board seats at the top 100 companies by revenue in June 2013 were held by women, according to a survey by executive recruitment firm Korn Ferry. Ten of those boards had no women directors in December of that year. - Read more at:

As part of the Startup America initiative, the presidential Demo Day is designed to encourage an all-inclusive entrepreneurship. In addition to the 30 startup teams that are exhibiting their nascent technologies and ideas, a dozen bigwigs are committing to workforce diversity. Box, a cloud storage company, for instance, has committed to using the "Rooney Rule", which essentially means at least one woman and one candidate from an underrepresented minority will be considered for senior management positions. - Read more

At the Demo Day, the president announced 116 new winners of the total Small Business Administration prize. In 2015, $4 million was set aside for winners of this prize, who usually receive $50,000 individually. Past winners from the 2014 Growth Accelerator Fund created or sustained more than 5,000 jobs and raised more than $500 million. - Read more at:

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