Amazon Web services, Inc (AWS)has today announced a $ 30 M fund to early-stage startups led by Black, Latino, LGBTQIA+, and women founders as part of its new AWS Impact Accelerator program.
Each startup will receive a total of $125,000 and up to $100,000 AWS Activate credits, business guidance, technical guidance, peer community and ongoing advisory support.
The AWS Impact Accelerator gives high-potential, pre-seed startups the tools and knowledge to reach key milestones such as raising funds or being accepted to a seed-stage accelerator program while creating powerful solutions in the cloud. On acceptance into the eight-week program, participants will create a wide-ranging, personalized training curriculum from dozens of available sessions delivered by AWS startup experts and guest speakers. A single day could include lessons from an AWS solutions architect on optimizing cloud infrastructure, guidance on investor pitching from an experienced startup CEO, and leadership dos and don’ts from a third-party organization that provides support to startups. Startups will also learn how to use Amazon processes such as “two-way door decision making” and “working backwards” to drive day-to-day decisions and build nimble, innovative teams.
“When we launched in 2006, AWS changed the game for startups by giving them access to the same technology as the world’s largest enterprises,” said Adam Selipsky, CEO of Amazon Web Services. “Today, we continue to level the playing field so that founders can pursue their ideas and grow successful businesses regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or race. AWS is committed to helping underrepresented founders succeed and build powerful cloud solutions that capture the attention of investors and customers. The possibilities for these startups are endless, and I can’t wait to see what they create.”
Startups will have the opportunity to learn from and connect with more than 20 collaborating organizations that are on board to support the AWS Impact Accelerator as mentors, guest speakers, and advisors. They include organizations that work with Black, Latino, LGBTQIA+, and women founders such as Black Women Talk Tech (BWTT), digital undivided, and StartOut, as well as venture capital firms such as Backstage Capital and Lightship Capital. The program will also prepare startups for entry into seed-stage accelerators that work closely with AWS, such as Visible Hands.
Each qualifying startup will receive the following benefits:
“Innovation plays such an important role in unlocking opportunities for women and people of colour, and we need to make sure more of them are able to go from early-stage founder to success story,” said Yasmin Cruz Ferrini, General Partner and Co-founder of Visible Hands. “These AWS programs fill a genuine need along that journey and will provide a crucial lift for disruptors who are driving economic growth through entrepreneurship and invention.”
Applications are open for the first AWS Impact Accelerator for Black Founders, with the program kicking off in June for U.S.-based startups. The first AWS Impact Accelerator for Women Founders will take place in the second half of the year for U.S.-based startups. The AWS Impact Accelerator for LGBTQIA+ Founders and AWS Impact Accelerator for Latino Founders will follow in 2023.
After a startup completes an AWS Impact Accelerator, they will continue to receive guidance and resources through a virtual community, alumni events, permanent access to the curriculum (including future content), and ongoing advisory support from mentors and AWS technical experts.
“We would love to have been part of something like this in the early days of our company because building a startup is not easy,” said Dave Salvant, a confirmed guest speaker at the upcoming AWS Impact Accelerator for Black Founders, and President and Co-founder of Squire, a startup that offers a technology platform for barbershops. “We’re honoured to have the opportunity to share what we’ve learned with the next wave of Black founders and make a meaningful difference in their journey.”