It was an historic last night in Mountain View, CA as the first annual New Me Accelerator program, designed to motivate African-American technological entrepreneurship, launched on the campuses of Google, Inc.
Created by Angela Benton (founder) and Wayne Sutton, NME has been the continuation of Ms. Benton’s commitment to empower and create opportunity for African-Americans in the digital space.
Hosted by Interactive One Chief Technology Officer, Navarrow Wright, the NME kick-off event asked 12 young black digital entrepreneurs to pitch their product and business ideas to an executive panel of venture capitalists including leaders from Syncom and David Krane from Google Ventures. Mr. Krane, the 85th employee of Google, Inc and former head of Global Communications for the search giant, offered constructive feedback and heartfelt counsel to the young entrepreneurs, many of whom had no former experience pitching their ideas.
“This is a wonderful program, and it is great to see how passionate so many of them are about their work. I can’t wait to see how their ideas evolve.”
Attended by a number of key “Googlers,” including Chris Genteel, the head of Global Diversity programs for Google, who came out to show their support for solutions that address the imbalance of African–Americans and other ethnic group’s representation in the digital space, the New Me Accelerator has significant goals: after 9 weeks of 1-1 mentorship, and a live-in “Big Brother”-like experience where the entrepreneurs will all live together under one roof as they work on their start-ups, participants will be eligible for substantial business investments.
“From being able to pioneer in the music industry, to now blaze a trail here in the valley at Google shows we are here and have a love and a passion for technology,” said MC Hammer, one of the celeb attendees at the kick-off. Hammer, a long-time technology investor, who lists Jack Dorsey’s Square and Bump among his investments, will be one of the team’s mentors.