This post originally appeared on the Louisiana Technology Park blog.
A community united against systems of oppression is a powerful thing. Founders of color in our communities face barriers beyond common startup challenges, like raising capital. Diverse founders often lack access to money or opportunities to expand their professional networks. Creating equitable systems and communities helps minimize these barriers to success for diverse entrepreneurs.
That’s the driving force behind Part II of NexusLA’s RESOLVE series, which brought diverse entrepreneurs, investors and startup resource specialists together to lay the groundwork for equity in entrepreneurship.
Here’s three ways to foster a diverse startup ecosystem that allows founders to move forward as a community and grow.
Secure Capital Through Shared Knowledge
Unequal access to capital is a significant challenge for diverse founders. Entrepreneurs can empower each other by sharing their experiences. Connect with other founders to share information on investor and capital resources, suggested Charles Hudson, managing partner at Precursor Ventures. His organization, for example, is committed to funding diverse startups at the idea stage. Resources for capital are available, and interacting with the local community of founders will help entrepreneurs find them.
Other community resources, like pitch competitions, can also provide exposure — which can lead to opportunities. Resilia Founder and CEO Sevetri Wilson participated in a local pitch competition when trying to get funding for her tech company. She didn’t win the competition, but she did score a meeting with a West Coast investor.
Sharing knowledge and resources can help founders avoid investors who aren’t a good fit, too. Founders should talk to other founders who didn’t receive funding to help evaluate specific investors. This due diligence can give founders more background on each investor’s track record.