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Nichola Lowe
Nichola Lowe

In the December 2017 issue of the American Planning Association’s Planning magazine, CURS Faculty Fellow Nichola Lowe dives into the story of a technology startup incubator based in Durham, North Carolina that incorporated diversity and inclusion into its DNA.

“Technology Entrepreneurship is rarely uttered in the same breath with terms like racial diversity or socioeconomic inclusion,” writes Lowe, associate professor of city and regional planning at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Less than 20 percent of American technology start-ups are minority owned. African Americans account for only seven percent of the U.S. high-tech workforce and one percent of (nonfounder) technology executives; numbers for Latinos are equally low. According to recent reporting out of Silicon Valley, women also struggle for equal representation. But American Underground, a startup incubator in Durham, part of the Research Triangle region, is rapidly pushing to change that. In early 2015, American Underground leadership publicly committed to creating ‘the world’s’ most diverse entrepreneurial hub. Within one year, it had increased its share of female- and minority-led firms by more than 30 percent. Today, 75 of their 257 companies are female led and 73 are minority led.”

Read the full article here to learn more about American Underground’s success in diversifying high tech.

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