The Founders Live Social Impact Program
Our Social Mission: Creating a more diverse and inclusive community of entrepreneurs around the world.
WE BELIEVE entrepreneurship is the greatest driver of innovation and economic empowerment. But too many people with great ideas never get a chance because they don’t have access to mentors, networks, capital or knowledge. Most often these are women, people of color, those who identify with the LGBT communities, and those from diverse economic backgrounds.
Founders Live and our partners are working to build a more diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial community. We empower aspiring entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups by connecting them with knowledge, mentors and networks. We believe with the right tools and access to the entrepreneurial community, anyone and everyone can turn their ideas into success regardless of who you are or where you come from.
Closing The Opportunity Gap
Without access to social networks, social and financial capital, and facing bias in investment decisions, women and underrepresented people of color encounter significant obstacles to launching tech startup ventures, gaining venture capital investment, or becoming tech investors.
- Nearly 98% of venture-backed technology startup founders are White or Asian, and 83% are male.
- Of the gatekeepers to capital investments, 97% are white or Asian,
- 1% of venture capital dollars went to African American and Latino founders in 2016
- 2% went to women founders
Source: The Leaky Tech Pipeline (2018) – Kapor Center for Social Impact
Creating an ecosystem of support for underrepresented entrepreneurs
Social networks are often the gateway to opportunity for entrepreneurs in the form of introductions, recommendations and most importantly financial capital. Many top-tier VC firms rely on “warm intros” to identify investment opportunities. And studies have shown that they are more likely to invest in companies they’re introduced to within their social network. That’s why we’re helping to create an ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds.
- Community Partnerships: Founders Live is working to create an ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs through a network of community partnerships with incubators, funders and advisors that specialize in working with women and minority entrepreneurs, especially in the cities Founders Live currently has a local leadership presence. Through these partnerships we’ll actively invite underrepresented entrepreneurs to the Founders Live community and at the same time identify the critical resources they’ll need to succeed.
- Mentorship – We recruit Founders Live members who can offer knowledge, expertise and introductions and connect them to underrepresented entrepreneurs.
- Referrals – We actively refer women and minority entrepreneurs to resources in their own communities where they can get guidance and support.
The Founders Live Social Impact Pledge
Our aim is to inspire and empower Founders Live members to give back to the community. We are issuing a call to action and provide tools and resources to support members’ social impact initiatives.
Join Us: Create your own initiative to give back
Giving back isn’t just good for the community. It’s good for your business. But not enough start-up and early stage companies are building social impact into their business strategies and workplace culture. Founders can see a bunch of reasons to put this on hold, but we argue the list of reasons why a social impact strategy is a smart play is much longer.
- It lifts the community – It’s going to take all of us to make progress against some of our biggest social challenges. Homelessness, a warming planet, and meeting the educational needs of the next generation are just some of the issues we face every day. Start-up and small business can make important contributions.
- It’s good for your brand – When a company gives back it creates new opportunities to share stories about your values and culture. It’s a great way to connect with customers and through shared values.
- It’s a great recruiting tool – Talent is your competitive edge. Candidates are increasingly looking at a company’s social mission when considering them as an employer.
- It’s a key to team building – Volunteering in the community is an inspiring and meaningful way to bring teams together. Founders we talk to are saying volunteer outings are rapidly replacing traditional holiday parties and summer picnics as more effective ways to energize the team.
We challenge ourselves along with all of you to make a positive impact on the community. We will use our people, our facilities and most importantly our vision and creativity to support positive change. Below are just a few initial ideas to consider:
- Connect with a cause: Find a cause your company cares about and share it on your website or social channels. Share information about the problem and your contribution to the solution and how others can help.
- Plan a community volunteer outing – Get the team together to give back as a group. Many local non-profits post different opportunities on their web sites. See the tool kit for more information.
- Host a drive – Food, clothing, hygiene products and household items can make a big difference for those in need. Human services non-profits in your community are always looking to collect these items and can help your company collect and distribute them.
- Start a non-profit partnership – Reach out to a non-profit in your community and ask how you can help. They can offer a few opportunities over the course of the year for your organization to contribute from donating to volunteering or even lending your leadership or technical expertise.
Our support for you
Founders Live is providing you with an easy-to-use toolkit to get started. We’ll also add your logo and link to our listing of members who’ve taken the pledge. We can also connect you with our social impact partners at Catalyst consulting, if you’d like additional insight into the path ahead.
We are excited to embark on this journey and hope you will join us in not only building an incredible business, but making long lasting positive impact along the way.