Atlanta-based email marketing company Mailchimp has a reputation for being a forward thinking organization and a highly desirable tech company for young Millennials in the city to work at. Mailchimp is adding to its social capital treasure chest by combating tech’s diversity issues head on by teaming up with Opportunity Hub on an initiative called HBCU@SXSW.
Diversity in tech was a hot button item in 2017 and still remains an issue. African Americans only represent roughly 4-5 percent of the tech workforce, but represent 13% of the population in the U.S.
“Four years ago, my wife, a Howard University graduate, and I were at SXSW attending a VIP investor event. We realized that we were the only black people in the room and decided that early exposure to these unknown spaces was critical to increasing authentic inclusion in the innovation economy,” said Sampson
In its inaugural year, 2016, the program brought 50 African American, Hispanic, and Native American students to conference; and in 2017 the number doubled to 100 thanks to corporate sponsors like Snapchat, Google, Microsoft, Delta, PwC, MailChimp, and more. The goal this year is 500 students from across the country.
Which leads us back to Mailchimp, who is taking the lead in Atlanta and encouraging other large corporations based in the city to follow suit and boost the initiative. Newly crowned as Inc. Magazine’s Company Of The Year, Mailchimp has launched #ATLTechRiseUp a campaign to improve the inclusion of minorities in Atlanta’s tech space.
The goal of #ATLTechRiseUp is to retain talent in Atlanta. In addition to that Mailchimp is challenging Atlanta’s local corporations to sponsor students at $3,000/piece and create mentorships and paid internship programs to continue to foster that talent.
Atlanta-based organizations already on-board include Delta, Chick-fil-A, Carbice, Morehouse College, and Peach State LSAMP. Individual influencers include Atlanta Hawks’ Kent Bazemore, angel investor Mike Ross, and real estate investor Alicia Holmes.