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Thursday, August 24, 2017
Newark, NJ

Fast Company

The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development addressing the underrepresented minority entrepreneurs funding gap

The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CUEED) at Rutgers Business School in New Jersey has been plugging away for years to help change that. This year, however, the organization launched two initiatives specifically designed to address the funding gap, after hearing from countless entrepreneurs who struggled to secure capital.

A three-month pre-accelerator called the Black and Latino Tech Initiative (BLT) offers founders of color mentorship and access to CUEED’s venture capital partners, including local accelerators at Newark Venture Partners and IDT Ventures. CUEED’s Pipeline to Inclusive Innovation (PII), on the other hand, aims to up the number of underrepresented scientists and inventors who take advantage of federally funded innovation and tech programs.

There are already about 20 to 25 companies between the two new programs, from a service that CUEED executive director Lyneir Richardson describes as "Yelp for reviewing landlords and property owners," to a diabetes test that uses a human teardrop.

"These folks have interesting ideas,' CUEED’s academic director Jeffrey Robinson says. "Certainly there are comparable ideas out there in the marketplace, and they get greenlit. It makes me wonder, why didn't these folks get greenlit? We're of the mind that we can better prepare entrepreneurs, no matter who they are, for entering accelerators, or getting that first level of funding, or supporting them as they go after these grants."

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TAGS: Jeffrey Robinson Lyneir Richardson The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development