Rice Alliance has become a baMa Champion of diversity to foster a diverse and supportive innovation ecosystem. “Rice Alliance aims to foster an innovative and entrepreneurial culture that not only values differences, but also elevates them as sources of strength and innovation”, said Managing Director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, Brad Burke.
Rice Alliance has decided to join forces with baMa and become a Champion of diversity because they believe in supporting a more inclusive startup ecosystem and in “listening to what the community needs and using our resources and network to support those efforts”, added Brad Burke. For Rice Alliance, “baMa provides a robust approach by providing training and expanding opportunities for under-represented founders to access capital, while expanding the pool of angel investment available for founders.”
“Rice Alliance becoming a Champion of diversity shows that joining forces to #changethecolorsofinvestment is not only necessary, but happening right now”, said baMa’s CEO, Maria Maso. “Diversity and education go hand by hand so counting with the support of Rice Alliance is a huge step in order to accomplish baMa’s goal: close the investment gap in minority-led startups.”
Rice Alliance with their programming in Houston and long-established network, is an excellent way of supporting baMa’s mission. The organization can foster innovation and diversity through their programming, with which they want to ensure a platform for sharing ideas of diverse start-ups. One way Rice Alliance and baMa are continuing to work together is through the Rice Business Plan Competition. baMa participated in this event and gave a $50.000 investment prize to SwiftSku, Inc.
The RBPC “gives collegiate entrepreneurs real-world experience to pitch their startups, enhance their business strategy and learn what it takes to launch a successful company,” Brad Burke explained. The group provides mentoring, guidance, and connections to the entrepreneurship ecosystem to their students. It also provides investors with early-stage deal-flow and student startups with capital to launch their businesses, through the $1M annual prize pool at the competition.
For this year, Rice Alliance expects that baMa is going to introduce them to “a more diverse set of new startups from across the country that we can support through our programming and provide a platform for sharing their ideas to our networks” stated Brad Burke. In addition, it wants to collectively increase the success of diverse statups by learning about and plugging into the education side of baMa, the Diversity Investor Academy.
“baMa has become a leader in the region in supporting underrepresented founders and bringing more capital to these startups. We expect that support for baMa will continue to grow from other members of the innovation ecosystem to further this mission” concluded Brad Burke.
“Through education we can lead future excellent business angels to believe not only in investing in diversity because morally is the correct thing to do, but also to contribute to the innovation ecosystem and get better returns” concluded baMa’s CEO, Maria Maso.
Catherine Carey, Communications Manager at baMa