On Wednesday, Apple Inc announced it was investing $60 million into a new round of initiatives aimed at challenging systemic racism and to aid entrepreneurs of color, including the first foray to help founders of color in venture capital financing.
In order to help finance 1,000 entrepreneurs for 20 years, Apple said it would invest $10 million in a fund with Harlem Capital, a New York-based early-stage investment group.
Apple will spend $25 million in the Strong Vision Impact Fund of Siebert Williams Shank, which offers to fund to small and medium-sized companies with a focus on minority-owned businesses. Apple will become a limited investor in funds at both.
“There’s a lack of diversity among venture capital and banking funders,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, told Reuters. “We looked for where we thought there was opportunity for our resources to do good things.”
The initiatives are part of the $100 million social inclusion and justice campaign by Apple launched last year after the shootings of two Black people killed by police, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
Apple is donating $25 million to the Propel Center in Atlanta, a 50,000-square-foot building where historically Black colleges and universities are working on entrepreneurial initiatives, app growth and other subjects.
“We wanted to see more Black and brown developers,” Jackson said, noting that Apple has long worked with historically Black schools. “They tend to be focusing on the southeastern part of the United States. But Detroit has over 50,000 small businesses that are owned by Black and brown people. And so it seemed to us that there was an entrepreneurial opportunity.”
The iPhone manufacturer is setting up two funding projects to help design silicon and hardware engineering curricula for historically Black colleges.
In Detroit, Apple will also set up an app development academy, the first in the United States.
The academy will offer a 10-to-12-month free course that will seek to teach coding, design, and marketing skills to 1,000 students a year. The Detroit facility will partner with Michigan State University.