A New Community for Diverse Founders and Change-Makers
On a recent, chilly Friday evening, ten of us gathered in a conference room in downtown New York- entrepreneurs, investors, and community builders.
The reason? A conversation about underrepresentation in entrepreneurship, and the unique challenges that founders from diverse backgrounds face:
- Having a similar wealth of entrepreneurial heroes from shared backgrounds to look up to, to connect with, and from whom they can learn. What is the effect of seeing story after story about entrepreneurs who found success, when none of them share your experiences or look like you?
- Connecting with a community of like-minded and driven founders — to support, collaborate with, and empower each other. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely endeavor, especially when events you attend are have few people that look like you.
- Knowing about the wealth of resources, people, and organizations specifically looking for people like them. Often, the difference can be made by knowing one person who can point you in the right direction.
- Accessing those high-impact resources to develop their companies and themselves, including training programs; speaking, leadership, and other opportunities; and advocates among the press and in the investment ecosystem. Having these relationships and connections can accelerate a company quicker than one could imagine. But getting this access often requires already having some amount of access in the first place.
Heroes are out there. The desire for community is teeming. Fantastic resources and opportunities exist. But the systems and institutions we’ve built don’t make it easy for these entrepreneurs to get what they deserve.
After hours of conversation, we chose to build something together — a community where these entrepreneurs can access actionable knowledge, deep connection, and a pipeline of high-value resources and opportunities.
Here’s our initial plan:
- Our first launch will be a short-form weekly publication, highlighting the story of an entrepreneur from an underrepresented community, and sharing their experiences, lessons learned, and actionable advice, with the aim of adding more diversity to the current entrepreneurial narrative. As one person in the group stated, “You cannot be what you cannot see.” We intend to allow every to see someone who can inspire them and teach them.
- Soon after, we will launch in-person events and training, to allow underrepresented entrepreneurs to build upon this learning and develop critical skills.
- As our audience grows, we will scale a deeply-knit membership community of driven entrepreneurs- The Underground- to share resources, create opportunities for collaboration, and push each other to maximize their potential.
- We will then develop and coordinate pipelines of high-value opportunities and resources to follow, including access to further training, events, leadership and speaking opportunities, and connections to investors and potential partner organizations.
Our goal is to change the landscape of resources and opportunity in entrepreneurship for underrepresented founders.
Entrepreneurship should be an equalizer in our society. Any talented entrepreneur should feel empowered to succeed, and have access to the resources to do so, independent of their background.
If you would like to learn more about the community and sign up for exclusive invites, opportunities, and resources, head to https://underground.community/.
If you would like to support the work that we are doing, reach out to one of our steering committee members:
Tayo Rockson: @TayoRockson
Tazmun Nahar: @naharissya
Julian Rodriguez: @Product_J
Jennifer Litorja: @jenniferlitorja
Jim St. Germain: @Millzontwit
Khee Lee: @KheeLee
Mike MacCombie: @MikeMacCombie