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What could success look like for DC’s Inclusive Innovation Incubator?

One night Aaron Saunders was working late at In3 when he noticed something beautiful happening. The brand-new space was playing host to two events that evening — one pitch and networking night for female entrepreneurs and one dinner discussion group. 

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How one entrepreneur is building bridges to help spur American innovation

As the U.S. becomes acclimated to the reality of a new president, something that’s on the minds of many Americans is the changing economic landscape. People are fearful of the impact automation and technology will have on their livelihoods — it’s estimated that 5 million jobs could be lost by 2020 because of the “fourth industrial revolution,” according to the 2016 World Economic Forum.

Opinion: Tech companies had many black executives in the 1980s; what happened?

 I’ve tracked the declining employment of African-Americans at a time of great expansion of technology opportunities. Because our accomplishments aren’t visible, they are assumed not to exist. The recent story of the African-American engineer at Uber who committed suicide— just five months after taking a job there— is a sign that something fundamentally wrong has occurred in technology workplaces in the past 30 years.

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The Wrong Way to Grow a City

The story of Cleveland, as with many other Rust Belt cities, is a story of falling from grace. How is “grace” measured? Population rankings, mostly. Cleveland was America’s 5th biggest city in 1920, beneath only New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Detroit. By 1950 it was 7th. By 1980, 20th. Then down to 45th by 2010. And so on.

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TechniCLE event sparked talk on ways to support region's tech startups

fter helping to organize two previous TechniCLE conferences, which gathered Cleveland's tech entrepreneurial community for frank conversations, attorney Jennifer Stapleton wondered if there was anything more to be said.
Then, people started asking if she was going to do a 2017 edition of the conference. Once Stapleton was convinced that there was grass-roots interest, she began planning this year's "TechniCLE Speaking 2017: CLEaring Our Runway."
"If it's of value to the community, we'll always find a way to do it," said Stapleton, a private equity attorney at Jones Day, and founder and organizer of the 2017 TechniCLE.

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How an equitable economic development fellowship could spark change in Phoenix

Phoenix plans to make community equality a strategic priority in its economic development plans this year.
With the help of a year-long equitable economic development fellowship, the city may be well on its way to doing just this.
Phoenix was selected to participate in a year-long equitable economic development fellowship this year alongside Nashville, Baltimore, Louisville, Austin and Sacramento.

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6 Ways the City of Decatur Became a Model of Inclusion, Diversity & Citizen Engagement

What is the role of local government in creating a space for community dialogue among residents? How do you bring everyone to the table, especially those who have not traditionally felt welcomed or included? What happens when you spend time and money on a civic engagement process to create a plan designed to result in a more welcoming and inclusive community?
The city of Decatur, Georgia, answered those questions with its Better Together initiative, launched in 2015.

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How Inclusion Creates A Positive Workplace Culture

With relatively low diversity numbers, such as only one-fifth of senior tech jobs being held by women (according to a 2016 Computer Weekly survey), company leaders are already at a disadvantage. Building trust and facing difficult diversity issues - especially for those in the tech industry — is a difficult and time-consuming feat. But it’s one that will encourage employees to grow and succeed within their current organization.

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Residents in Michigan city take action to rebuild their city

A few years ago, Highland Park resident Shamayim Harris would often look at the block of Avalon Street just west of Woodward Avenue and feel disheartened. It was "terribly blighted, decaying," recalls Harris, known around the community as Mama Shu, adding that most of the houses were abandoned, with debris littered throughout the block. Then her toddler son, Jakobi, was killed in a hit-and-run incident. Six months later, she saw that a house on the block, one she had looked at for so long, was for sale. "There was just something about the block that was really drawing me to it," she says. "To me it felt like a clean slate. It felt like a fertile ground that I can actually go over and clean up and we can put things on it that our city doesn't have anymore."

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What's The Next Trend In Leadership? Black Women

Black women are beginning to emerge as leaders across all industries, academia, government and non-profit organizations. This trend is particularly evident in the creation of new businesses: the 2016 American Express OPEN State Of Women-Owned Businesses Report found that women-owned businesses have grown five times faster than the national average since 2007, fueled primarily by Black and Hispanic women.

We have seen this trend in our own activities: in the seven weeks since we wrote about Black Women Talk Tech, we have attended six events featuring successful Black women as speakers or panelists. Equally impressive to the growing quantity of businesses owned by Black women, is the exceptionally high quality of these events and the presenters they attract.

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Seattle startup founder sought a business partner, got a women’s alliance instead

Leslie Feinzaig had been searching for months for a business partner to join her startup, toy company Venture Kits, and was starting to feel the press of loneliness that often goes along with being a company founder.

Acting on instinct, the Seattle entrepreneur sat down at her computer that day in January and somewhat hastily created a Facebook group, adding all her local female friends who were startup founders. After a year working as a vice president at Seattle-based makeup company Julep, and several turns volunteering with startup accelerator Techstars, Feinzaig knew quite a few people in the community.
But the rapid spread and popularity of the group still surprised her. Women she had added started inviting their friends, who in turn invited their contacts, and before she knew it, Feinzaig’s attempt to create a small community had more than 75 members.

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10 Amazing Women Leaders To Watch This Year

Whenever the conversation of women and leadership is brought up, it seems as though we always have a list of acceptable phrases we run through as commonplace. Things such as “women are leading the way,” “women run the world,” or even “women are revolutionary” all come to mind...however, if you and I both have read these phrases time and time again, when exactly will they ever come to fruition?

As sad of a reality as it is, women are still fighting for their place in a male-dominated workforce. And even when they do find roles, they’re sometimes degraded into things that are considered “a woman's job” or “something a woman does better because they’re a woman.” This is just so a company can say they’re “diverse” and “making more efforts towards inclusion”, which is absolutely ridiculous.

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This woman wants to see more people of color shape Toronto's tech world

After more than 10 years spent in the tech industry, Jessica Yamoah says she still looks around at board rooms, incubators and conferences to find a sea of white men. 

There are few people of colour, she says, and even fewer black women like herself.

What that means, she says, is that an industry supposedly built on innovation has chosen to limit the pool of experiences from which it can draw.

It misses out on the perspective of visible minorities, and potentially, the needs of that diverse community as consumers, she said.

"When you look at it from an economic standpoint, having diversity and inclusion doesn't just make sense. It makes money," she said. 

"And that's one of the keys things for us, but a lot of times it's missed."

So Yamoah has teamed up with Sarah Juma to change things: the pair launched Inclusive Innovation, a program geared to helping entrepreneurs of colour, particularly women, connect with incubators and other resources.

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Providing Inclusive Opportunities in Durham’s Innovative Economy

Helping fuel Durham’s booming innovation economy are entrepreneurial hubs like American Underground, iNvictus Office CenterReCity and Duke University’s new Innovation & Entrepreneurship Bullpen, as well as a growing number of high-growth, high-impact enterprises. Adding to this growth is the 15-acre Durham Innovation District already underway just west of downtown with an expected 1 million square feet of lab and office space for life science companies as well as 300,000 square feet of residential units.T his growth is, however, not without risks. Just down Main Street is northeast central Durham – a majority minority community that has a centrally located, under-developed commercial corridor and an emerging entrepreneurial community. The city invested $4 million in street improvements in the Angier-Driver corridor, but without an intentional plan to stabilize home ownership; invest in education opportunities; accelerate and strengthen local minority ownership and small business activity; and (critically) ensure community buy-in and participation, there is a significant risk of gentrification, displacement and local frustration as downtown grows.

Durham (like the rest of North Carolina) has alarmingly low rates of social mobility and high rates of economic insecurity. According to a recent report from Durham-based economic development nonprofit MDC, if you are born in the bottom economic quintile in Durham there is a 40% chance you will stay there and only a 5% chance of getting into the top quintile.

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Investing in the future of Detroit

Four years ago, this block was dark. The streetlights were out and all of the storefronts sat empty. Residents living in apartments above the shops came and went, hoping one day the block would come back to life. But nobody knew when – or if – it would ever happen.

Now, the window of The Red Hook Detroit, a coffee shop and bakery, is a beacon of light. Next door, Detroit Vegan Soul will soon bustle with a lunch crowd. And down the street, the chef at Craft Work is already prepping for dinner service.

Outside Red Hook sits Craft Work owner Hugh Yaro. A cast of neighborhood residents and business owners stops by to chat as he enjoys his morning coffee. It’s a diverse mix—African-American, white gay, straight—and they are all discussing what is coming to the West Village, a small neighborhood on Detroit’s East Side that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980.

A few blocks north, a strip of 1930s era commercial buildings that looked ready for the bulldozers are being rehabilitated for retail and residential. A new mixed-use residential project broke ground last fall. And the area is part of a $30 million Strategic Neighborhood Fund that is expected to bring more activity to the streets. The conversation today centers around managing growth and ensuring that neighbors who have called the area home for decades can afford to stay.

But in 2012, when Yaro looked at this block with potential investors and told them about his dream of a neighborhood bistro, they only saw risk. Everyone except the Detroit Development Fund, a nonprofit that provides loans and other assistance to help revitalize the city.

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