Indianapolis-based nonprofit Be Nimble Foundation is today kicking off its inaugural Black Innovation Week. The organization, which works to create diverse and inclusive tech ecosystems, says the event will highlight Black tech leaders and award grants to entrepreneurs through a pitch competition.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Be Nimble co-founder Jeff Williams said the goal is close the investment gap between Black-owned tech companies and venture capital firms.
“It’s about how do we essentially use this as a platform to bridge the gap and if we’re going to do that, it’s important that we draw attention to the fact that there are companies already there and there’s an opportunity for us to increase that participation,” said Williams. “Secondly, if we’re going to solve those problems and help them succeed, then we really need to focus on where their gaps are and the number one gap that we continue to evolve through…is that undercapitalization is the number one piece.”
Williams says in order to fuel more venture capital investment in Black-owned companies, there needs to be an intentional collaboration with organizations that are already focused on closing that gap.
“One of the biggest challenges has really been around one side of the community will say that it’s really a knowledge gap. The other side of the community might say it might necessarily be more towards the idea of nomenclature and being able to close the gap with respect to the way in which we speak about these things,” he said.
The Black Innovation Week will begin tonight with a panel titled, “Protect Your Peace: Health and Wellness,” to be held at the Indianapolis Public Library Central Library branch in downtown Indy. The event will also include a panel on education, as well as a virtual career fair and conference taking place on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, 12 Black-led startups will pitch their ideas during the inaugural Garden Pardi pitch competition. The foundation will award a total of $15,000 in prizes with the top idea receiving $5,000. The winners will be announced on Saturday.
You can learn more about Black Innovation Week by clicking here.
Williams says the goal is close the investment gap between Black-owned tech companies and venture capital firms.