There’s no secret that Texas loves its oil and real estate…However, slowly but surely, Technology is becoming the “new oil” and the digital economy has a fair amount of “square footage” to go around.
As we usher in this new wave of digital innovation and the opportunities it presents, we have to be bold and courageous about ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in the digital economy. This includes startup entrepreneurship, tech career pathways, venture capital investment and everything in between.
Impact House, Founded in July 2017, is a non-profit organization with a mission to accelerate and invest in all shades of genius, providing a support ecosystem for underrepresented women and communities of color to have access to the skills and opportunities within the 21st century digital economy. Impact House takes a pipeline approach to removing barriers for underrepresented groups through ecosystem building, tech-entrepreneurship, tech career pathways, and venture capital. We believe addressing the racial wealth gap and digital skills divide can only be solved with a comprehensive approach. We believe that the lack of access to STEM education in low-to-moderate income and communities of color has a direct correlation to the lack of representation in the tech industry today. We also see through studies like Kapor Center’s Leaky Tech Pipeline and Black Tech Mecca, that building awareness around the pipeline and need for intentional ecosystem building are key to creating access to mentorship, skills, education, and investment for underrepresented groups.
As we look towards the next phase of our organization, Impact House gears up to launch the first ever diversity and inclusion focused accelerator program in DFW. With a focus on training and developing early-stage tech or tech-enabled startups founded by women and minority entrepreneurs. Impact house also has plans to launch TechHireDFW, officially making DFW a Tech Hire city, an initiative created in 2015 by the Obama Administration and Opportunity At Work to create a more robust and diverse pipeline of non-traditional candidates looking to break into the tech industry. The DFW based collective impact initiative will bring together government agencies, workforce commissions, training partners, and community organizations to create IT pathways for Dallas-Fort Worth residents through expanding learning pathways, transforming hiring practices, and tech career ecosystem building.
Austin Urban Tech Movement (AUTM) mission is to empower Austin-area minority and black professionals through engaging career development and networking opportunities that connect them to technology companies and departments who are needing to find incredible diverse talent.
“In the past, AUTM has partnered with various companies, organizations and institutions to focus on job placement, career development, and networking opportunities for Black and Brown communities,” said Michael Ward Jr., Chair of AUTM. “We’re looking forward to working with Impact House as they launch DUTM and collaborate across city lines to further the conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion at technology companies.” — Michael Ward, Chair, Austin Urban Tech Movement
Seeing the opportunity to unite across Texas, this dual-city collaboration will foster opportunities to drive dialogue, awareness, and action around the opportunities of Diversity and Inclusion within the greater tech ecosystem. Each organization will operate independently with opportunities to collaborate across borders for larger strategic initiatives such as SXSW , which 2020 planning has already begun— an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences. As well as larger theme focused events and cross-collaboration opportunities around workforce development and startup resources for underrepresented Women, Black and LatinX communities.
The Dallas Startup Community is fairly young, gaining its traction around 2013 bolstering itself as the next startup and innovation hub. As we have every right to believe so due to our strong corporate culture, proximity to deep capital markets, a world class airport, favorable real estate market, and 7M residents as a potential customer base. The D-FW area ranked seventh nationally among the markets with the most tech workers at the end of 2017, according to a new report from commercial property firm Cushman & Wakefield. But smaller markets like Austin are seeing more growth in the sector.
“DFW has become a major tech market to be reckoned with. Our tech workforce is twice the size of Austin’s and growing,” Jeff Eiting, vice president and co-leader of the technology and media practice in CBRE’s Dallas office, said in a 2016 release. “Tech companies will continue to be attracted to the large, well-educated labor pool that DFW offers, as well as our relatively low cost of living and cost of office space.”
Dallas has all of the right ingredients to having a healthy and vibrant startup community. However, like most cities, it has its challenges. Historical industry dominance of oil and real estate, geographic, and DE&I challenges have became top of mind however, steady progress is being made as noted in recent Regional Innovation Study and Regional Innovation Assessment conducted by the Dallas Regional Chamber, Accenture, SMU, and United Way of Dallas.
Austin, TX — “Silicon Hills” as some would call it, is experiencing the same type of growth seen in the early stages of Silicon Vally due to its growing tech-friendly culture. However like Dallas, dedicated initiatives that provide access and opportunities to wealth building through entrepreneurship, technology, and venture capital are essential to a cities inclusive economic progression. The Austin Urban Tech Movement with a focus on building a strong pipeline for workforce opportunities are creating pathways for underrepresented communities of color to “get in the game”.
The Dallas Urban Tech Movement Powered by Impact House is, set to launch Friday June 7th at Capital Factory + The DEC will foster opportunities to connect individuals looking to break into the tech industry. The initiative will roll out its Membership App feature in the coming weeks offering a freemium model to ensure access is prioritized. Higher annual membership levels will allow more resources such as discounts to exclusive events, universal coworking pass, business, self-care, travel, and productivity perks, access to Impact House Learning Labs, 12-wk Startup Accelerator, Inclusive Capital Investor Network, as well as additional startup resources available within the Dallas Startup Community.
To stay up-to-date with this initiative, join our email list at www.dutmtx.org or visit www.impacthouse.co
For collaboration opportunities, please reach out to Stephone Coward, Director of Ecosystems at email@example.com