Harvard Innovation Labs and Amazon Web Services on Thursday launched their iNextGen Accelerator program, selecting 25 student founders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and universities in Sub-Saharan Africa for the inaugural two-week “founder bootcamp.”
The program, which will take place this month at Harvard Innovation Labs in Allston, aims to increase the presence of Black people and other underrepresented groups in the startup community. The founders will participate in sessions aimed at identifying and understanding customers, finding and proving markets, pitching products and companies, fundraising, and leadership.
The Schultz Family Foundation provided a grant to participants that covers the cost of room and board, and travel expenses. Amazon Web Services, a unit of the online retailer, will offer each participant $5,000 in credits for the company’s cloud computing services and access to the company’s experts and professionals.
Here are a few of the participating ventures:
- Sabon Sake, founded by a student at Ashesi University in Ghana, “manufactures affordable organic soil boosters and provides training for farming communities threatened by the climate crisis.”
- Design World, founded by a North Carolina A&T State University student, features “an e-learning platform that allows digital design experts to connect with Black and underrepresented students,“ using augmented and virtual reality.
- Sholla, founded by a student at Jackson State University in Mississippi student, “makes it easy for Ethiopians living in the U.S. to directly pay bills on behalf of their families in Ethiopia, without the need for intermediaries.”