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Tech Startups Get Diversity Boost from Obama


Diversity in the technology industry has been one of President Obama's priorities. As reported, the president wants to help close the diversity gap in the tech field, especially help tech startups to include as many bright talents as can be from the underrepresented segments of society.





CNET reports that the administration announced it has come up with new diversity initiatives in collaboration with big tech companies, such as Microsoft and Amazon, well-known venture capital firms; and engineering departments at large universities, at the recently held White House event intended for boosting diversity among tech startups.

The announcement is part of the Obama administration's first-ever Demo Day, an event where startup founders from diverse walks of life and various parts of the country came to the White House on Tuesday to showcase their innovations, according to the report.

"Today America is home to more high-tech companies than anyplace else in the world," Obama said. "But we've got to make sure that we're taking full advantage of this moment by tapping all the talent America has to offer, no matter who they are or where they set up shop."

Presently, there are only 1% African-American venture backed startups, and only 3% women-founded startups. Obama stressed that starting a business is indeed challenging for anyone, but more so for "a woman or an underrepresented minority who all too often have to fight just to get a seat at the table."

In the tech industry overall, the lack of industry has been widely noted as mostly male, white and Asian: On average, 30 percent of the tech industry workforce is women, even though women make up 59 percent of the total workforce and 51 percent of the population, according to US Census Bureau data, CNET says in its article. In addition it says, the numbers are even more bleak when considering the participation of women in venture capital firms, which command the currency the industry needs to thrive.[...]The exclusion of women and minorities in the board room and among the biggest venture firms doesn't make sense from a business perspective, said Megan Smith, the US CTO of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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