News Tech: DivInc Houston, a nonprofit dedicated to breaking down barriers to empowering entrepreneurs, especially people of color and women, launched a new accelerator, Women in Tech, on September 19th. The program runs through December 15th and is co-hosted by the space, a female-centric co-working space. Because the program is industry agnostic, her nine companies in the first cohort will focus on a variety of topics including finance, education, retail, and delivery. Ashley DeWalt, executive director of DivInc Houston, said the city has a backlog of programs to support women entrepreneurs.
DivInc Houston project lead Amanda Moya says milestones rely on each company’s unique metrics goals.
The program will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays at the space, 2799 Katy Freeway, Suite 250 and on Wednesdays at Ion, 4201 Main St. For 12 weeks, companies that pass the accelerator will be given a lead mentor. In the program, he has over 60 mentors who he meets weekly. There will also be a series of VC-led workshops covering mission vision, unique value proposition, marketing, sales, fundraising, legal and more. This will allow participants to build relationships with VCs before asking them to invest, DeWalt said.
“We wanted to be able to use the success of female founders to actually offer these kinds of programs to other women in town,” she said. “[All-women-founded businesses] receive less than 2% of [all venture capital in the US], so we are trying to provide a solution for that”. The program matches companies with pilots her partners and potential ventures her capital firms focused on investing in women-led businesses, she said. Similar to DivInc Houston’s Sports Accelerator program, each startup in this program receives a base grant of $10,000 to reach certain milestones.
What would normally take a year to get started has now been completed in three months with the accelerator, Moya said. Participants also receive subsidies for childcare, if needed. DeWalt said this would put him between $1,500 and $2,500. The purpose of the scholarship is to remove additional challenges for women taking the program. In choosing participating companies, DeWalt and her Moya said they considered a lot, along with her partners Ion, SheSpace, Mercury, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Verizon.
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