Go to Homepage Racial Inequity Drawdown (RID)
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Founders create the future. If racial equity isn’t a part of that future, we don’t have one. After a year in quarantine and a long hard look in the mirror, more and more people have used their collective power to change the status quo. They’re leading the charge to create a world that reflects equality and justice for all.
In the entrepreneurship world, some progress has been made in this past year: increases in funding for BIPOC entrepreneurs, accelerator programs, and support for BIPOC founder and venture capital nonprofits (i.e. HBCUvc, BLCK VC).
However, there’s a lack of call-to-action and educational resources for folks who are curious about the entrepreneurial journey, especially when creating a start-up that combats racial inequities. This is where Racial Inequity Drawdown comes in.
Racial Inequity Drawdown (RID) is an educational database and call-to-action for prospective founders, investors, and current founders curious about entrepreneurship reducing racial inequities.
Inspired by Project Drawdown: an approachable list of climate solutions, and Y Combinator's Request for Start-ups: a list of start-up ideas for prospective founders, RID provides a solutions-first approach by listing key entrepreneurial spaces in need of innovation around racial equity, alongside existing start-ups.
RID was incubated at Fifty Years, an early-stage SF-based venture capital firm focused on solving the world’s biggest problems. Initially spearheaded by past Fifty Years’ Fellows, the database is being open sourced and led by a group of undergraduate Admins passionate about advancing anti-racism in the venture capital and startup ecosystems. The Admin team has backgrounds in entrepreneurship, activism, venture capital, and critical race theory.
For future entrepreneurs: Future entrepreneurs will be the visionaries for a more just world. For example, we hope RID might inspire a student to learn more about systemic adverse health outcomes for pregnant Black women, and then create or join a start-up working on reducing bias in the healthcare system.
For investors: We hope that investors continue to widen their breadth of knowledge around anti-racist entrepreneurship and re-consider funding strategies to include a stronger lens of racial equity. For example, RID might inspire an early-stage angel VC in climate tech to dig deeper when assessing founders and start-up models, thinking more critically about primary, secondary, and tertiary racial justice impacts.
For founders: Many founders are already building companies tackling racial inequity, and we are proud to feature some here. We hope RID inspires any founder to better incorporate anti-racism into their company’s mission. If you would like your start-up to be listed, or recommend another one, suggest a start-up here!
Oftentimes, extremely profitable business opportunities coincide with reducing racial disparities. For example, few know that the vast majority of the world’s genomic datasets are Caucasian, effectively excluding BIPOC populations from the genomics revolution and slowing the development of treatments for genetic diseases across the world. ****54Gene, a listed RID start-up, is working to fix this by building the first pan-African genomics biobank. This has incredible potential to affect the millions of individuals of African descent and create billions of dollars in revenue.
To be clear, we understand this database may be inherently political, adhering to a neo-liberal capitalist approach that promotes tech as a “savior.” We are not suggesting that these interventions alone will solve U.S. and global problems of racial inequity — public dialogue, education, and wide scale policy changes are needed. We see tech as a useful tool, especially in this era of globalization and digitalization, but certainly not a “be all, end all” solution.
This database is in its early stages, with full intent to receive critical feedback. We recognize that no conversation around racial equity is complete without a considered lens of critical race theory and acknowledgment of the decades of work pushed forward by nonprofits, grassroots activists, political policy, and more. Should this database gain traction, we hope to invest more time incorporating nonprofits and the historical underpinnings of these many inequities. A few other dreams look like RID connecting undergrads with start-ups for summer internships, “accelerating” start-ups by catalyzing mission-driven teams or even connecting RID start-ups with investors through formal networking or pitch events. There are many more ideas bubbling in our heads, so if any of these pathways excite you, 🤝 work with us as an admin or advisor!