Announcing DivInc's Partnership with Notley

by Preston James

We have BIG news to share today!

We’re excited to announce DivInc is partnering with Notley Ventures to extend our accelerator platform and community programming to even more entrepreneurial women and people of color, both in Austin and eventually, other cities around the country.

As part of this news, we’re proud to say Notley has made a significant philanthropic investment in DivInc. This transformative gift provides us with the resources to grow our capacity and capability, expand our accelerator programming and scale our community impact.

Through educational events, programs and focused initiatives, Notley is creating a national social innovation ecosystem where novel approaches give rise to more purposeful and profitable outcomes. They aim to affect change at the systemic level, not just nonprofit-by-nonprofit or cause-by-cause, but as an ecosystem.

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As part of this partnership, we will open an office at Relay Coworking at the Center for Social Innovation. We’ll also be utilizing Notley’s wraparound services, including but not limited to Notley’s shared finance, operations, marketing and fundraising talent.

Our goal is not only to significantly increase the number of successful underrepresented founders , but we want to transform startup ecosystems to be more authentically inclusive and equitable. We’re also thrilled about major synergy with other Notley partner programs like Women@Austin, Student Inc, as well as Huston-Tillotson University’s Entrepreneurship Center.

We want to acknowledge Josh Baer and the entire Capital Factory team and thank them for graciously supporting us over the last year and a half. We’re grateful for the partnership and support of Capital Factory, and truly look forward to continuing our partnership and collaboration with them. Thank you, Capital Factory!

Read Notley’s own blog post on this news here.

Our “Why” at DivInc

As you know, February is Black History Month and International Women’s Day is around the corner on March 8th. The kickoff of this next phase of growth for Divinc couldn’t be more well-timed.

Prior efforts to address economic segregation and racial inequality have understandably emphasized raising the floor. Now it’s time to remove the ceiling, for everyone. Our intensive 12-week curriculum empowers entrepreneurs to imagine, plan, and execute venture opportunities of the highest caliber.

By building successful high-growth companies, we can disproportionately influence the economic, political and social development of communities nationwide. Together, DivInc’s alumni and advisor network of founders, funders, and executives are working to change the face of entrepreneurship, one venture at a time.

Most net new jobs in the U.S. are created by new and young companies. Yet, research shows the playing field is not level, and certain demographic groups face more significant and persistent barriers to building successful entrepreneurial ventures, especially in the technology industry.

There are major gaps in economic opportunity for women, people of color and immigrants. These gaps are largely due to an opportunity and empowerment divide in our nation.

According to most recent census data, of the almost 3 million African American owned businesses, 96% are sole proprietorships. Similarly, 91% of the 3.3 million Hispanic owned businesses in the U.S. employ only one person.

If African American and Hispanic owned business were to achieve parity with non-minority companies, by building scalable, high growth businesses, it is estimated they would generate 5.9M new jobs and $871B in revenue for the US economy.

Similarly, women represent approximately 51% of the U.S. population, but just 2.7% of companies with a women CEO receive venture capital, with 0.2% going to African American women, despite the fact that they are the fastest growing entrepreneurial segment.

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Please Join Us at Champions of Change

We’d love the opportunity to celebrate our new partnership with Notley with you, along with some of the most tireless advocates and leaders in Austin.

We’re super excited about our inaugural Champions of Change Awards, which takes place on Friday evening, March 1 at City Hall, starting at 6:00 pm.

This special event recognizes individuals who hold diversity as a core value and work to make Austin a truly inclusive community. We like to say that Champions of Change is Austin’s “Oscars of DEI.”

A selection committee, made up of diverse and distinguished leaders and influencers in Austin, have selected winners for the following categories:

Executive of the Year

D&I Leader of the Year

Program of the Year

Champion of the Year

Investor of the Year

Rising Star of the Year

Non-Profit Leader of the Year

Our sponsors include: Wild Basin Investments LLC, Brown Advisory, TrendKite, JP Morgan Chase, Vela Wood, Jackson Walker, UFCU, Downtown Austin Alliance, Culturati Summit, Cirrus Logic, Adventum Fund, Brown Distributing Co., Austin Java and Richard's Rainwater.

Our community partners include Huston-Tillotson University, UT’s Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship and BLNDED Media.

Learn more about the finalists at: divinc.org/awards

Tickets are available here.


Our 2019 Selection Committee was comprised of:

Lisa Graham, Owner/Founder at Notley Ventures & Center for Social Innovation

Mindy Gulati, D&I consultant and speaker; President at Fundamental Advisory

Muna Hussaini, Sr Manager of Inclusion & Diversity at PayPal\

Ada Renee-Johnston, Head of Staffing at Google

Cameron LaHaise, Executive Director at Down Syndrome Association

Christine McCarey, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Leader; Public Speaker

Ikechi Nwabuisi, Founder at Tribl; Champion of D&I in Austin

Brion Oaks, Chief Equity Officer at City of Austin

Colette Pierce-Burnette, President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson

James Russell, CEO at Trail of Lights Foundation

Zoe Schlag, Partner at Techstars Impact

Eugene Sepulveda, CEO at Entrepreneurs Foundation; Director & Partner at Capital Factory; Co-founder at Culturati Summit

Madge Vasquez, CEO at Mission Capital

Johnathan Wojtewicz, Executive Director at Bunker Labs

Josh Jones-Dilworth, CEO at JDI; DivInc Board Chair

Monique Maley, President at Articulate Persuasion; DivInc Board Vice Chair

Dana Callender, Co-Founder and Board Member, Divinc

Preston James, Co-Founder and CEO at Divinc

What’s Next?

We have 5 main priorities for 2019 at DivInc.

One, we’re going to make Champions of Change a huge success. Our Selection Committee, sponsors, community partners, Board, and alumni have stepped up big time to make Champions of Change possible.

The finalists list is an incredible one, full of folks we admire for doing super important work in and around Austin. The event is a fundraiser that will support our Spring 2019 cohort, but it is also a celebration of progress, and a commitment to further change.

Two, we’re going to expand our Board by 3-5 members. We’re looking for awesome, diverse Board members who are ready to get their hands dirty. If you know someone please send them our way!

Three, speaking of which, we’re looking forward to our 2019 Cohort which will run this Summer. We took this Fall and Winter off to build our Board and fundraise, a decision that has paid off. Now we’re ready to go again. Most other accelerators only run one cohort a year. We have done two per year in the past and we are committed to doing two a year again, starting in 2020. The need is too great. Since the very beginning the number of qualified applicants has far outpaced how many companies we can accept.

Fourth, we’re going to launch our Membership program. At every level of engagement, we have a way for you to join the DivInc community and have a positive impact year-round. In addition to Champions of Change and individual cohort sponsorships, our Membership program is the “third leg of the stool” that will drive us to sustainability.

Fifth and last, we’re starting to look at which city is next for DivInc. We probably won’t launch a new program until 2020, but discussions have already begun, and that’s super exciting.

Thank you for reading this all and supporting our mission!

You are appreciated so much. None of this would be possible without our broad community of supporters and believers who stick with us through thick and thin.

See you soon, hopefully at DivInc’s Champions of Change Awards on March 1st, and if not, at one of our upcoming events!

Monica Morales