Apple is investing $ 100 million in helping color entrepreneurs

Apple said it has poured $ 100 million (approximately Rs 730 million) into a new round of projects aimed at combating systemic racism, including its first foray into venture capital funding to support paint entrepreneurs.

Apple announced it would invest $ 10 million (roughly Rs 73 million) in a fund with Harlem Capital, a New York-based early-stage venture company, to fund 1,000 companies over a 20-year period. Apple will invest $ 25 million (approximately Rs 180 million) in Siebert Williams Shank’s Clear Vision Impact Fund, which funds small and medium-sized businesses with a focus on minority-owned companies.

Apple becomes a fund limited partner in both.

“There’s a lack of diversity between venture capital and bank financiers,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental, political and social initiatives, told Reuters. “We looked where we thought our resources would have an opportunity to do good things.”

The effort is part of Apple’s $ 100 million (approximately rupee 730 million) initiative for racial equality and justice announced last year following the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, two blacks killed by police.

Apple is donating $ 25 million (around Rs 180 million) to the Propel Center, a 50,000 square foot facility in Atlanta where historically black colleges and universities will collaborate on programs for entrepreneurship, app development, and other topics. The iPhone maker is setting up two scholarship programs to design the silicon and hardware engineering curriculum for historically black schools.

Apple will also set up an app development academy in Detroit, the first in the US. The academy offers a free 10- to 12-month course and is designed to teach coding, design, and marketing skills to 1,000 students per year. The Detroit facility will partner with Michigan State University.

“We wanted to see more black and brown developers,” said Jackson, noting that Apple has long worked with historically black schools. “They tend to be concentrated in the southeastern part of the US. But Detroit has over 50,000 small businesses that are owned by black and brown people. So it seemed like a business opportunity for us.”

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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