Afrotech is the future!
Apple recently launched an entrepreneur camp for Black founders and developers.
The inaugural camp launched in 2019, focused on providing an “immersive tech lab for app-driven companies founded and led by developers from underrepresented backgrounds.” The company has welcomed a cohort of leaders and their teams from 13 app companies, focusing on allowing developers to expound on their apps by offering new technical skills. They provide a critical lens perspective of the user experience with tech labs and one-on-one code-level guidance from Apple experts and engineers and mentorship, inspiration, and insights from Apple leaders.
The “Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers” is a part of the tech giant’s “Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI),” which launched in June 2020 as a way to empower the Black community and eliminate barriers to opportunity by creating pathways. The company has allocated $100 million towards advancing racial equity in education, the economy, and the criminal justice system. Apple is also partnering with budding venture capital firm Harlem Capital to invest in diverse founders and offer guidance and mentorship.
Alisha Johnson, Apple program lead for the REJI initiative, spoke during a conversation Apple hosted with Black developers about the new endeavor, saying, “As a company, we have always been rooted in technology that can change the world. We’re really committed to applying our resources [and] the innovation we pride ourselves on towards helping to create a more inclusive tech sector…We’re working to support talented Black entrepreneurs and technologists and strengthen those pathways to economic opportunity.”
Some of the founders and developers participating in the inaugural entrepreneur camp include; David Bosun-Arebuwa, creator of the B3am app to make gym equipment accessible, Adam Taylor, developer of the Black app, a culturally targeted news app, Cedric J. Rogers and Shaun Newsum, founders of Culture Genesis, a digital remixing technology for urban audiences, Casey Pollock, creator of the Hologarden app which assists gardners through the use of AR and AI technology, and Aurelia Edwards, founder of Nailstry, an online marketplace for press-on nails and nail art.
“These incredible app creators and business leaders embody the entrepreneurial spirit that runs so deep in the Black community. Their work already demonstrates the power of coding to build a better world, and we’re honored to support them as they blaze a trail we know so many more will follow,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said in a press release provided to Because Of Them We Can.
Former program participants of the camp have seen great success, securing funding rounds, raking up several awards and accolades, and increasing their teams and app users across the globe. Apple hopes to continue its success with the next cohort, continuing to double down on their commitment “to help build the next generation of diverse leaders.”
“The mission with all of this work is really to dismantle the systemic barriers to opportunity and to fight injustices faced by communities of color. We believe as a company that apps that are made for everyone should be made by everyone. And there’s so much work to be done to level the playing field for Black developers. We’re really committed to doing our part in this effort to support this important group of creators,” Johnson added.
For more information about the “Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers,” click here.
Congratulations to all the attendees.
Photo Courtesy of Apple