NJEDA & digitalundivided showcase resources for Black & Latino Entrepreneurs

Members of New Jersey’s innovation community had the opportunity to learn about public and private resources available to entrepreneurs of color during a “Removing Barriers for Diverse Entrepreneurs” Instagram Live discussion on Wednesday that featured New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Sullivan and digitalundivided CEO Lauren Maillian. The chat also spotlighted the recently-proposed Black and Latino Seed Fund, which the NJEDA intends to create to drive capital to Black- and Latino-owned enterprises.


The innovation economy is facing a nationwide diversity crisis. According to Crunchbase, American companies raised a record-setting $150 billion in venture capital funding in 2020, but less than one percent of this went to Black-owned companies. The numbers are even worse for women. According to digitalundivided’s ProjectDiane, Black and Latina women received just 0.64 percent of total venture capital investment between 2018 and 2019.

During the event, Sullivan and Maillian spoke about ways their organizations are working to increase access to capital for minority-owned businesses and discussed initiatives created to empower Black and Latino founders, foster equitable entrepreneurship, and create the most diverse innovation ecosystem in the country.

“Reclaiming New Jersey’s position as the nation’s leader in innovation hinges on welcoming all entrepreneurs with original ideas to pursue their dreams,” Sullivan said. “Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, we’re working with our partners in the public and private sectors to close funding gaps that exist for far too many entrepreneurs of color and ensure that founders have the resources they need to succeed.”


newjerseyeda We were thrilled to team up w/ @digundiv for last night’s “Removing Barriers for Diverse Entrepreneurs” Instagram Live event! Couldn’t join us? Get details on resources for entrepreneurs of color & a link to a recording of the chat. Link in bio. #IGLive

Sullivan gave an overview of New Jersey’s proposed Black and Latino Seed Fund, which will focus on driving capital to Black- and Latino-owned enterprises. Governor Phil Murphy has proposed a $10 million Fiscal Year 2022 budget allocation to create the Fund. Crafted with input from Black and Latino founders, investors, and policy experts, this seed fund is an important step toward tearing down the institutional barriers that hold Black and Latino entrepreneurs back and replacing them with accessible resources that respond to these innovators’ unique needs.

The concept for the Fund resulted from a Request for Information (RFI) issued by the NJEDA last year to solicit input on ways to increase access to capital for Black- and Latino-led startups. The RFI sought input from a diverse range of stakeholders, including fund managers, angel investors, venture capitalists, small-business owners, researchers and practitioners involved in entrepreneurship work, industry and trade groups, and other states’ governments.

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Sullivan also outlined a comprehensive suite of initiatives advanced by Governor Murphy to foster equitable entrepreneurship and create the most diverse innovation ecosystem in the country. This includes adding new bonuses to:

It also includes adding a diversity bonus to the NJEDA’s own venture investment plan, and an increased investment cap for investments in certified woman- or minority-owned businesses under the New Jersey Innovation Evergreen Fund, created under the Economic Recovery Act of 2020.  

During the Instagram Live chat, Maillian highlighted digitalundivided’s mission and resources it offers Black and Latina women entrepreneurs. digitalundivided is a non-profit, social startup that leverages data and advocacy to catalyze economic growth for Black and Latina entrepreneurs in innovation and technology. Maillian spoke about the groundbreaking programs they offer including  START 2021,  a three-week virtual program for Black and Latina women founders at the idea stage of their entrepreneurial journey. She also talked about BIG Pre-Accelerator, a fast-paced pre-accelerator program for high-potential, pre-revenue Black and Latina women-led startups, as well as the Do You Fellowship, which positions high-potential, innovative Black & Latina founders for growth by providing them with funding, professional development, and access to exclusive mentorship and resources.

“Responsibility falls on all players in the innovation ecosystem to break down the barriers that far too often impede the path to success for entrepreneurs of color,” Maillian said. “It’s important to keep having conversations like we had this week and to continue connecting diverse entrepreneurs with critical resources like the programming spearheaded by NJEDA and digitalundivided. Working together, we will encourage innovation in NJ and have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy.”

A recording of the Instagram Live chat can be found at

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

About digitalundivided

digitalundivided is a non-profit, social startup that leverages data and advocacy to catalyze economic growth for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs in innovation and technology. Our goal is to create a world in which all women of color own their work. digitalundivided merges data and heart to change the trajectories of women’s lives. We are a connector and a catalyst, supporting Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs through best-in-class programming, mentorship, training, resources and investment. We offer unparalleled thought leadership in the space. And we bring together the shared experiences of our community to produce ground-breaking authoritative research on Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs. For more information, visit: and follow us on Twitter (@digundiv) and on Instagram and Facebook (@digitalundivided).

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit and follow @NewJerseyEDA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Black and Latina entrepreneurs

JPMorgan Chase $1M investment supports Black and Latina entrepreneurs startups

It’s no secret that Black and Latina entrepreneurs often face many unfair disadvantages in business. However, some initiatives seem to be turning the corner in helping women small businesses grow their entrepreneurial potential. 

Black and Latina entrepreneurs

Latina entrepreneurs are the fastest growing demographics opening businesses in the USA

Studies show that “women of color are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the U.S. with more than 1.5 million businesses– a 322% increase since 1997.” This is amazing, right? And yet they only receive “less than one percent of all venture investment.” They also have less advantages when it comes to wealth, financial safety nets, and networks that other entrepreneurs rely on for success. [#ProjectDiane]

These statistics are discouraging, but changes taking place within the entrepreneurial landscape offer hope.  

JPMorgan Chase announced a $1 million investment to support Black and Latina entrepreneurs’ startups. This investment is part of their Small Business Forward initiative which strives to provide “flexible financing and support to underserved women, minority, and veteran-owned small businesses.” The investment will be divided and invested into two programs: digitalundivided (DID) and iNENT Manifesto.

Both programs are focused on supporting and empowering Black and Latina entrepreneurs, specifically focused in the tech field.

DID and its two projects for Black and Latina entrepreneurs

Black and Latina entrepreneurs

Over 1.5M Hispanic women own businesses isn the USA

DID is a social enterprise founded in 2013, that works to support Black and Latina entrepreneurs in innovation focused entrepreneurship.

  1. Half of the $1 million investment will go towards two projects within DID. The first project will incubate 40 startups founded by women of color. This is a 26-week cohort that will provide mentorship, business planning, and marketing strategies to teach these start-ups helpful tips to make their businesses successful.
  2. The second DID project that will be funded is a second version of #ProjectDiane, a research study about the state of Black women in tech entrepreneurship in the United States. This second study will expand to include Latinas and will be released later in 2018.

The iNTENT Manifesto

The other half of the investment will go toward funding the iNTENT Manifesto, “an educational and investment platform based on good design, intent and investment to drive meaningful amounts of capital to women of color tech startups.” The project aims to raise the visibility and support for women of color entrepreneurs through a series of workshops and educational campaigns.

“Our mission is to create a more inclusive economy in which entrepreneurs from all backgrounds have a fair shot at building and scaling their companies,” said Janis Bowdler, Head of Small Business Initiatives, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “We are proud to support digitalundivided and iNTENT Manifesto in their goal to elevate women of color as technology business leaders and owners. Thanks to their efforts we are beginning to change the face of entrepreneurship in the tech industry.”

This investment is a great start in leveling the playing field for Latina entrepreneurs and women of color in business. Hopefully it will inspire others to follow in the firm’s footsteps and invest in these women and their ventures.

For more information, visit and follow #SmallBizForward on Twitter.

JPMorgan Chase Small Business Forward Black and Latina entrepreneurs

JPMorgan Chase Small Business Forward initiative helps minority businesses grow and expand