AJC at SXSW: Innovation lab to help black and Hispanic-women owned firms

Austin, Texas — Digitalundivided (DID), a national group devoted to propelling tech firms started by African-American and Latina women, said Sunday at the famed South by Southwest festival it will open an innovation center in downtown Atlanta.

BIG Innovation Center

Rendering of the future BIG Innovation Center planned by digitalundivided in Atlanta. Source: digitalundivided

The announcement of the 6,000-square-foot BIG Innovation Center, to be located downtown near the Atlanta University Center complex, is a shot in the arm for the city’s startup scene. It comes during an effort backed by the Metro Atlanta Chamber to pitch millennials and other young professionals on the Atlanta area.

Link: Atlanta to woo young professionals at SXSW

Minority women-owned startups are under-represented in tech and under-served in the mentoring and investment worlds.

“We are champions of game changing innovation and disruptive ideas and are excited to continue our work in the city of Atlanta”, digitalundivided Managing Director Kathryn Finney said in a news release.  “We look forward to being a vital hub for Atlanta’s emerging diverse tech community.”

The facility, which will open this summer, will offer a four-month accelerator program to help mentor and grow new companies. It will also offer up to one-year of office space for startups and access to DID’s alumni network. The innovation center also will feature an internship program for student developers.

Innovation centers and centers to stimulate startup companies have become key prongs in economic development officials’ push for high-tech jobs. Recruiters have targeted the labs of both major companies and groups that design office space and help for emerging firms.

The BIG Innovation Center will join established accelerators like Georgia Tech’s Advance  Technology Development Center and cool hot beds for new companies such as Atlanta Tech Village.

The DID innovation center also joins a recently founded Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, a city-backed innovation lab in downtown’s historic Flatiron Building.

AJC in Austin

Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter J. Scott Trubey will be in Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest and to follow the ChooseATL campaign. Follow him on Twitter through his handles @FitzTrubey and @ajcrealestate. He’ll also post to Snapchat at fitztrubey and ajcnews

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