February is Black History Month across the U.S., but here in Atlanta, Black history is everywhere, year-round. Atlanta is the number one city for Black prosperity, and the country’s fourth-largest tech hub. As more than a quarter of Atlanta's tech workers are Black, it’s clear that our city’s startup scene is just the latest iteration of a long legacy of Black entrepreneurship. There's a spirit in the city that inspired the entrepreneurs of the past, and continues to attract tech talent today.
I was one of those entrepreneurs. When I founded my own startup, Partpic, I decided to do it not in Silicon Valley, where I had started my career, but in Atlanta. Partpic was acquired in 2016, but I opted to stay in Atlanta and continue to grow my roots in the tech and business community. It’s home now. In my new role as U.S. Head of Google for Startups, I’ll lead our continued support of Atlanta’s Black founders, beginning with a few exciting efforts:
Russell Center for Innovation
Along with our friends at Grow with Google, we’re partnering with the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE), an organization that helps black entrepreneurs and local business owners build, grow and create jobs. Our support will include mentorship, scholarships and funding three RCIE fellowships designed to help students learn and practice business firsthand.
Collab Studio—a resource center providing Black founders a safe space to learn and forge community in Atlanta—has joined the Google for Startups partner network. Our funding will help Collab Studio facilitate connections and technical resources so that 20 Black founders can prepare their businesses for the next stage of growth.
Atlanta Founders Academy
The Atlanta Founders Academy, modeled off last year's pop-up at our Atlanta offices, is coming this spring. Throughout the year, we’ll host a series of hands-on programs from Googlers, experts, and investors to support underrepresented Atlanta startup founders on topics such as sales, strategy, hiring and fundraising. Spearheading these efforts will be Googler and newly-minted Atlanta Advisor-in-Residence, Michelle Green, who has been helping Fortune 500 companies grow their business for more than a decade. Learn more about how to get involved in the Atlanta Founders Academy in this form.
As a Black woman, entrepreneur and Googler, I'm proud to be a part of the living, breathing history of Atlanta. Google’s focus on providing equitable access to information, networks, and capital for underrepresented startups speaks to a larger theme in tech and innovation today: Great ideas and startups can come from anywhere and anyone, and you don’t have to be based in Silicon Valley to be successful. We have an opportunity to highlight the work of startups here in Atlanta and in other regions that have been under-resourced for too long—and the great privilege of supporting Black founders and future history-makers.