Latin tech accelerator seeks Tampa Bay talent
Latino-led companies can soon be part of a local effort to shake up the tech industry.
What's happening: Applications are open for the Tampa Bay Wave and Tampa Bay Latin Chamber of Commerce's LatinTech Accelerator, and are due on October 6.
- The program promises things like executive coaching and preparation for investor meetings. It all leads up to a pitch night, where founders present their innovations to national and international investors, community leaders and media.
- Wave and chamber leaders are hoping to harness those trends to bridge a major industry gap with the region's first tech accelerator for Latin Americans.
- The program is open to companies that are majority owned, controlled and operated by people of Latin heritage or are from Latin America.
What they're saying: "Tampa Bay and Florida are poised to become hubs of innovation and entrepreneurial excellence, and our Latino community is an integral part of that vision." said Cesar Hernandez, CEO of Omni Public and chairman of the Tampa Bay Latin Chamber, in the programs' announcement.
Flashback: The accelerator launched at the start of the year with a $500,000 federal grant championed by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.
Zoom out: U.S. startups with a Latino founder received just 2.1% of the nation's venture capital funding in 2021, Wired reported.
- Out of the top 500 venture capital and private equity deals in 2020, fewer than 1% involved a Latino founder, per a 2021 report from Bain.
- Latinos represent only 8% of STEM workers, despite being the country's second-largest ethnic group.
- This divide grows for Latinas, who hold only 2% of the nation's STEM jobs even though women comprise 28.8% of the U.S. tech workforce.
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