Thursday, August 06, 2015

1871 and member companies celebrated at first ever White House Demo Day

1871 and member companies celebrated at first ever White House Demo Day

Sam Dewey
It’s a good week for diversity in tech.
Yesterday, 1871 and four of its member companies made a splash in Washington, DC at the first ever White House Demo Day. The mission of the White House’s new event is to celebrate inclusivity in entrepreneurship and recognize the critical role startup innovation plays in the American economy.
“New businesses are the key drivers of economic growth across America,” said 1871 CEO Howard Tullman in a statement. “This economic impact is far more effective and widespread when it is inclusive of business owners from diverse backgrounds, so 1871 is particularly committed to facilitating opportunities for entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities. We are excited to help promote this initiative with the White House, and congratulate Export Abroad, Bunker Labs, FoodTrace, and Impact Engine on their involvement in today’s event and announcements.”
Companies at the event were invited to demo both their services and their stories. The roster of participating companies spanned a diverse group of entrepreneurs in order to incite dialogues about how individuals, communities, companies, and government can make resources more accessible to a person who has a great idea — regardless of skin color, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, socioeconomic class, veteran status, citizenship, or first language, among other identities.
1871’s Export Abroad, co-founded by Minnesota’s Austin Grandt and Rwanda’s William Hakizimana, demonstrated their product to President Barack Obama. The company identifies and targets international markets for manufacturing and logistics companies, aiming at companies with leads, tracking tools, and strategy.
“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to present our company during the first White House Demo Day,” said Grandt in the statement. “This event was an incredible chance to not only demo Export Abroad, but also to discuss the impact of entrepreneurship for people across the United States.”
But Export Abroad wasn’t the only 1871 representative to receive recognition during the event. Impact Engine, which helps develop startup accelerators aimed at underrepresented populations in entrepreneurship, was announced as a winner of the SBA Growth Accelerator Competition. The White House also honored 1871-based Bunker Labs and FoodTracefor entrepreneurial achievements.
In addition to the special acknowledgement to its member companies, 1871 itself also enjoyed spotlight at the event. The White House highlighted the tech hub as a positive contributor to inclusivity in tech. With programs like the aforementioned Bunker Labs — an in-house accelerated for veterans in tech — or the first class of women tech leaders in their women-in-tech program WiSTEM, 1871 has taken strides in making its resources more accessible to communities who have traditionally been underrepresented. 1871’s diversity initiatives also include partnerships with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Chicago Urban League.

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