A venture capitalist is using her platform to invest in tech innovators from historically Black colleges and universities, Forbes reported.
Hadiyah Mujhid is the woman behind HBCU.vc; a non-profit organization that is dedicated to preparing HBCU students to step into the realm of tech and align them with investors to push their start-up ideas forward.
After conducting research surrounding Black entrepreneurs through a group that she founded called Black Founders—a collective of Black tech innovators from the Bay area—Mujhid discovered that a mere 1 percent of entrepreneurs of color were backed by venture capitalists. Cognizant of the barriers that Black entrepreneurs face when seeking funding for their projects, Mujhid was inspired to create HBCU.vc to give them a seat at the venture capital table. The setbacks that she faced as a woman of color when trying to launch her start-up Picturely—an image processing brand—also motivated her to start her non-profit.
HBCU.vc was created in 2017 and has been backed by individual donors and grants. According to Forbes, the first group of students to go through the non-profit’s program are slated to graduate soon. “The primary role of the mentors is to create opportunities for students to talk to someone that looks like them about their career paths in hopes that it will give them the students confidence to know that they can do the same thing,” Mujhid told the news outlet. “Secondly, I want to ensure that the students develop an external network in the industry because the relationships that you develop are important.”
HBCU.vc will start accepting applications for their next cohort in April.
Several initiatives have been launched to encourage more people of color to get involved in tech. Google granted $1 million to a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating a stronger Black male presence in tech.