The program focuses on high-growth tech startups founded by Latino entrepreneurs and will be recruiting 20 to 25 eligible startups to join the initiative.
There’s good news for Latinos in the Tampa Bay Area. A new business accelerator to promote Latino-founded companies has been secured by Democratic US Rep. Kathy Castor, who submitted the community project to the Appropriations Committee for funding in the fiscal year 2023 budget.
This is significant, because although Latinos are the second-largest ethnic group in the nation, in 2021 Latino-founded startups in the US received just 2% of the nation’s venture capital funding.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Hispanics are also underrepresented in STEM fields, representing just 8% of the workforce. Latin women, for example, hold 2% of STEM jobs in the US, while women in general make up nearly 29% of the U.S. tech workforce.
In case you are wondering, STEM—an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math—is a fast-growing industry that includes jobs in Computer Science, Information Technology and Financial Advisory, among others.
But here’s where it gets interesting: STEM careers had median wages in 2020 that were more than double that of non-STEM occupations, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. And they are expected to grow at more than twice the rate of other occupations in the upcoming years.
A Boost for Latinos
The infusion of the $500,000 in federal funding via the LatinTech Accelerator, which will focus on high-growth tech startups founded by Latin entrepreneurs, will boost these underrepresented entrepreneurs and help them make an impact on the Tampa Bay Area economy.
“These funds will jumpstart the work of so many important priorities,” Castor said of the program that was promoted by Tampa Bay Wave and the Tampa Bay Latin Chamber of Commerce. “Working together, we will ensure that every Tampa Bay neighbor has the opportunity to grow and thrive across our community. I am proud that these community projects will help tackle the rising cost of living, educate the next generation and create good-paying jobs that lift our community.”
Companies must be 51% owned, controlled and operated by individuals of Latin heritage to qualify for the LatinTech Accelerator. Recruitment efforts are now underway to attract 20-25 eligible startups to join the program.
“This will generate an economy that benefits everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or gender,” said Tampa Bay Latin Chamber of Commerce and initiative lobbyist Cesar Hernandez.