Last month, I met recipients of the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Europe. We launched this fund to address a global issue: Black founders disproportionately lack access to the networks and capital needed to grow their businesses.
Since receiving support from Google, including mentoring and non-restrictive funding, recipients of the Black Founders Fund in Europe have expanded their businesses, adding about 700 jobs to their local economies. And in Africa, where women are key to the continent’s economic transformation, half of the founders selected for the 2022 group are women.
While in Europe, I also attended the YouTube Black Gala, where I met YouTube Black Voices Fund creators who are shaping our culture to better reflect our diverse and creative world. Through the fund, these rising Black stars are equipped with resources and experiences to expand their reach not only in Britain, where 96% of people come to YouTube every month, but around the world. This year’s class of creators includes people from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building equity across different cultures and societies, so we’ll keep focusing on making a global impact through local programs. In Australia for example, we just announced our third Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), and our first ever Stretch RAP, to support strong and inclusive digital futures, with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Read on for more about how my colleagues are deepening our DEI and Belonging efforts to address critical issues and meet people where they are.
Chloe Tims Wright, university relations program manager
Advancing representation in research across the Americas
My team helps make sure people from a broad range of backgrounds can help shape tomorrow's scientific advances in computing.
We’re working on new, multi-year projects with top national universities in the U.S. and Canada, but we’re also deepening our ongoing work. In November, we expanded our collaboration with the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) to establish a $4.8 million institutional research program that will build research capacity for faculty and Hispanic students at CAHSI institutions. From 2023-2025, we will support more than 30 collaborative research projects and more than 3,000 students across a network of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). We’ll introduce potential graduate students to research career pathways, and directly support research projects done in collaboration with Google researchers.
This year, we also expanded our research interactions with faculty and students across Latin America by introducing four programs to the region: Award for Inclusion Research for faculty, Research Scholar for early-career professors, exploreCSR to help faculty introduce undergraduates to computing research pathways and PhD Fellowships for students attending Latin American universities. Applications for the Latin American 2023 PhD Fellowship award cycle are now open through January 11, 2023.
Eunah Lee, communications manager and Disability Alliance Korea lead
Investing in inclusion in Asia Pacific
Recently in Korea there’s been heightened public awareness about accessibility for people with disabilities. This has many people thinking about how this community can access spaces where we work, and if everyone feels they can do their best work without restrictions due to their abilities.
Other members of Korea’s Disability Alliance Employee Resource Group (ERG) were thinking through similar questions, so we formed a team that gathered feedback from Googlers to help co-design office updates. We collaborated with the Real Estate and Workplace Services (REWS) team as part of their ongoing, global effort to make workspaces more inclusive.
In Gangnam, the design team made all designs and plans available in braille, directly responding to the needs of Googlers with visual impairments. We also made sure braille was added to meeting room signage, and doorway thresholds were built with wheelchair accessibility in mind.
Google’s work in Asia Pacific with communities who are underrepresented in tech can take many forms — including offline formats for girls in India without access to tech. SwaTaleem, one of the organizations to recently receive grant funding as a part of the Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls, is teaching English, life skills, digital literacy and financial awareness through audio files that can be played on phones without the internet. These lessons are designed specifically for girls from 10-16 years old from low socio-economic backgrounds in rural or remote areas. They are first-generation learners, or caste and religious minorities. SwaTaleem is focused on creating a more equitable learning system for girls across India.
Elevating entrepreneurs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa
When you’re adapting to a new country far from home, launching a business in a new market can be an enormous challenge, made even more difficult by limited knowledge of digital tools. That’s why we started the HOLA Entrepreneurs program in the U.K. last year. With help from the Google Digital Garage team, which offers free digital skills training, we made online business and digital marketing training available to entrepreneurs with roots in Latin American countries.
More than 500 participants signed up for our first program edition. They represented 23 Latin American countries with businesses in the U.K., which encouraged us to make it more widely available. Now we’re working with more than 1,800 start-up businesses. This year, they’re able to access additional live learning sessions on topics like Google Analytics and understanding sustainability. We’ve also added a mentoring option. With the increased digital skills entrepreneurs are gaining, they’re expanding business across Spain, Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands and other key markets in Europe. It’s also encouraging that organizations like Green Cross United Kingdom are recognizing our work, and its potential.