#WealthInColor: Navigating the Bay Area’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

#WealthInColor: Navigating the Bay Area’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

In 2018, Living Cities, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Surdna Foundation embarked on Start Up, Stay Up, Scale Up [SU(3)], a three-city initiative designed to address gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystems of San Francisco, New Orleans and Albuquerque for high-growth founders of color.

The goal of this project was to ensure that entrepreneurs of color, particularly those who are poised to scale, could access the capital and community resources they need to grow their enterprises – resources that technical assistance providers, capital providers, anchor institutions and others have often denied to them.

In the Bay Area, the immense wealth and ample resources present in the ecosystem have not resulted in better access or outcomes for people of color, especially Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs of color in the region sit completely outside the white-dominated ecosystem, as shown in the interactive graphic, and cannot tap the capital and connections they need to succeed. They are essentially on the outside of a network driven by existing wealth and close relationships established in local universities and incubators, which they also may be locked out of.

To better understand these challenges, Living Cities worked with TD Lowe at 42Phi Ventures in San Jose, as well as SU(3) cohort lead and venture capitalist Monique Woodard, to map the players and resources present in the Bay Area ecosystem. With their expertise, we’re able to show the issues inherent in the system across different types of support as well as the potential solutions. It’s important to note, however, that none of these solutions will work without dismantling the institutional racism inherent in service organizations and local governments. That starts with reflection by individuals and examination of biases present in the system. We hope that this graphic can start those reflections and necessary conversations.

After clicking through the various support structures, reading about the challenges for entrepreneurs of color, and considering how you can help implement proposed solutions, we recommend checking out our SU(3) Medium publication to read more about what Bay Area players are doing to address these issues.


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