Chicago tech hub 1871 announced a new partnership Thursday aimed at identifying and supporting African American tech entrepreneurs in Chicago.
The partnership with the Chicago Urban League will provide African American business owners, designers and developers partially sponsored 1871 memberships. It will also connect entrepreneurs with funding opportunities, networking, mentorship and other 1871 and Chicago Urban League resources.
The partnership is being funded by Lenovo, Quaker, and HERE, a Nokia company.
“Ensuring that we develop a diverse workforce is absolutely critical to expanding innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Chicago,”1871 CEO Howard Tullman said in a statement. “1871 is constantly working to attract and develop top talent by facilitating opportunities within the 1871 community for underrepresented entrepreneurs and technology professionals as part of a concerted effort to create opportunities and jobs for all of the neighborhoods in the city.”
1871 also announced that it will be creating a “tech toolkit” that will be distributed to Chicago schools that will teach the basics of entrepreneurship and technology development. The toolkit utilizes free apps like MagicTags that help students develop different products. The partnership also plans to identify startups founded by African American college students and recruit them to join 1871’s college programs.
“The Chicago Urban League is thrilled to partner with 1871 to empower emerging and existing African American entrepreneurs with this innovative opportunity that can help launch, grow and sustain their businesses,” said Andrea L. Zopp, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League.
“As Chicago’s technology economy continues to grow and evolve, it is important that opportunities are made available to all Chicago residents, and that the technology community reflects the diversity of the City,” added Mayor Emanuel. “This partnership between 1871 and the Chicago Urban League will help to bring more diversity to this expanding area and push forward innovative new technologies that will help drive Chicago’s economy into the future.”
Photo by Tech Cocktail, CC BY-SA 2.0