Powered by the Case Foundation, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs and UBS, the campaign celebrates inclusive entrepreneurship
October 3, 2016 – Washington, D.C. – The Case Foundation, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs and UBS today announced the launch of #FacesofFounders, a new online campaign searching for dynamic entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, and particularly entrepreneurs of color and women founders across America, who are key to driving innovation and job growth in the U.S. Debuting at the White House’s first ever South by South Lawn (SXSL) event, the photos and stories showcased in this campaign will shine a spotlight on great talent, great innovations and the potential coming from this largely-untapped segment of the startup community in the nation. Five of the founders who submit their stories will have the opportunity to be profiled in a sponsored story on FastCompany.com. Submissions are due by November 22, 2016.
The data is clear: less than 10% of venture-backed companies have a woman founder and less than one percent have an African-American founder. Yet, we also know that companies led by women entrepreneurs of color are the fastest growing businesses in the United States. The campaign is intended to change the narrative of how we talk about entrepreneurs in America, and begin to break down the stereotypes and disrupt the outdated myths of what an entrepreneur can look like, or where they come from. The #FacesofFounders campaign will lift up all entrepreneurs and work to change the perception of who is and can be an entrepreneur.
“There are a tremendous number of women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color who are unrecognized, unfunded, and under-leveraged. This is not just an equity issue. This is a business and innovation proposition for America,” said Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, the family foundation she co-founded with Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and chairman of Revolution. “We need to support all of the nation’s entrepreneurs – from all places, all races, all genders – creating and scaling new businesses to create stronger communities, close the opportunity gap and scale creative solutions for our most persistent problems.”
“We are thrilled to partner with the Case Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs and UBS in support of entrepreneurs of all backgrounds. Diversity of thought and perspective is crucial to generating the most innovative ideas and solutions to the world’s increasingly complex problems,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “Women and people of color are historically underrepresented in entrepreneurship, and we are committed to making sure all entrepreneurs have the access to capital and entrepreneurial networks they need to start and grow their businesses. Supporting these entrepreneurs is crucial to building thriving communities and robust entrepreneurial ecosystems globally.”
“Diversity is at the core of everything we do. We firmly believe that companies building with diverse teams and for diverse audiences produce better outcomes for everyone. We’re thrilled to partner with the Case Foundation and others to reinforce the importance of inclusion in startup communities,” said Mary Grove, Director of Google for Entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurs are the engine for economic growth and job creation in this country,” said Lori Feinsilver, Head of Community Affairs at UBS Americas. “#FacesofFounders presents an important opportunity to reshape popular perception to ensure it truly reflects our richly diverse entrepreneurial landscape. It also highlights the ongoing need to galvanize resources so that all innovators can realize their full potential.”
#FacesofFounders kicks off at 12:01pm ET on Sunday, October 2, 2016, and ends on November 22, 2016, at 3:00pm ET. The recipients of the final awards will be announced in the Spring of 2017.
#FacesofFounders is an initiative led by the Case Foundation, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs and UBS, in partnership with Fast Company. Additional promotional support is provided by Black Enterprise and Latina Media Ventures.
To join the movement, entrepreneurs, aspiring founders and their supporters are invited to share their photos and tell their stories of inclusive entrepreneurship at FacesofFounders.org.
About the Case Foundation
Established by tech pioneers Jean and Steve Case, the Case Foundation invests in people and ideas that can change the world. The Foundation applies a Be Fearless approach to catalyzing movements around social innovation by revolutionizing philanthropy, unleashing entrepreneurship and igniting civic engagement. For more information, visit casefoundation.org.
About the Blackstone Charitable Foundation
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone’s IPO in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas nationwide and globally. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. For more information, see blackstone.com/foundation.
About the Google for Entrepreneurs
Google for Entrepreneurs provides financial support and the best of Google’s resources to dozens of co-working spaces and community programs across 125 countries. We also create Campuses: physical hubs where entrepreneurs can learn, connect, and build companies that will change the world. To learn more about Google for Entrepreneurs, visit google.com/entrepreneurs.
About UBS Elevating Entrepreneurs
UBS is committed to bringing the right resources, to the right businesses, to help spur economic growth and contribute to a more inclusive landscape for founders everywhere. In addition to our flagship program, Project Entrepreneur, we maintain long-standing partnerships with organizations like Venture for America and VEDC. For more information, visit www.ubs.com/elevatingentreprenuers.