Higher Ed

Black and Latino Tech Initiative Provides Support for Minority Startups

The second annual Black and Latino Tech initiative (BLT), a pre-accelerator program sponsored by The Rutgers University Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CUEED), is accepting applications for its 2019 cohort. BLT’s mission is to provide black and Latino startup owners/founders with educational training, mentorship, networking, and funding access from public and private sources.

“BLT is the first university-based program in the tri-state area that’s focused on getting capital to tech-enabled startups which are led by entrepreneurs of color,” says Lyneir Richardson, Executive Director of CUEED.  “Participants will not only receive guidance on marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship from professors at our #1 rated Rutgers Business School, they’ll also have an opportunity to pitch their business plans to an angel investor network.  In addition, two entrepreneurs will be awarded $10,000 prizes by Rutgers.”

Launched in 2018, BLT helped 11 entrepreneurs in its first cohort to focus, optimize, and analyze the viability of their startup tech companies.  Pedul, a BLT participant that’s an online platform where students can raise money for their education, received seed investment from IDT Ventures, an accelerator in Newark, NJ. Wearworks, another ‘18 BLT participating company, has received over $250,000 of funding from the National Science Foundation and other sources.

“BLT is a wonderful opportunity for minority owners of tech startups to connect with other people of color who are building their companies, and also to get access to capital and resources,” says Keith Kirkland, Co-Founder of Wear Works, which creates accessories that empower blind and visually impaired users to safely and intuitively navigate to any destination.  “Having Rutgers as a partner in the building of Wear Works has been hugely valuable, and I invite all black and Latino tech entrepreneurs to become involved with the BLT program.”

The 2019 BLT program begins on March 25 and ends in May.  Sessions are from 6:00 to 8:30PM and take place at Rutgers Business School in Newark.   CUEED/Rutgers does not take an equity position in the startups that participate in the program. Applicants must be in ideation stage, have not been accepted into a formal accelerator, have revenues less than $100,000, and have five or fewer employees.

The online application deadline for BLT is Thursday, February 28. For more information about BLT and to apply, visit the official BLT website.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

Related Articles: