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Gender Equality in Tech Cities expanding to Miami to help propel equity and inclusion

Gender Equality in Tech Cities expanding to Miami to help propel equity and inclusion

Backed by billionaire philanthropist Melinda French Gates, GET Cities will help the tech ecosystem educate, select and promote female talent

At a time when Miami’s ecosystem is growing at a record pace, a new national organization, Gender Equality in Tech (GET) Cities, will be setting up a hub in Miami to help ecosystem organizations achieve their shared mission of closing the gap in disparity for women in technology. The organization is backed by millions of philanthropic dollars.

GET Cities will work collaboratively with the region’s tech ecosystem organizations to propel more women, trans and nonbinary people, particularly Black, Latin, Indigenous, and people of color, into tech education, careers, and leadership. GET Cities, led by SecondMuse Foundation and Break Through Tech, has launched its third and final city hub, GET Miami, as part of a $50 million investment by Pivotal Ventures,  the investment and incubation company created by Melinda French Gates. The other cities the organization works in are Chicago, which kicked off in March of 2020, and Washington, DC, that launched in March.

“Miami is the perfect next stop to expand this mission, as a city that leads from its deep diversity of experiences and one that has a quickly expanding tech ecosystem,” said Leslie Lynne Smith, National Director of GET Cities. “Our hope with this initiative is that these three cities will act as light houses or laboratories for other cities across the US to borrow and adapt best practices.”

In an interview, Smith explained that GET Cities does not come into a community with all the answers. Its goal is to work with organizations and co-create solutions that will bring more women into tech through education and training and help them excel in companies or start their own, with a focus on improving access to capital. To do all this, the organization will likely convene a Tech Equity Working Group early next year, Smith said.

Leslie Lynne Smith, National Director, GET Cities

Some of the programs that could be created might connect slow-growing so-called lifestyle businesses with tech-enabled opportunities or bringing more women into the venture world. “We know that one way to ensure more women have access to capital is to put more venture capital into the hands of women  for distribution and consideration,” said Smith. Indeed, just last week, Miami-based aire ventures released a report that found that locally women and Black entrepreneurs lack the effective support needed to thrive.

One of the programs GET Miami will be bringing to the Florida International University, through an academic partnership, is led by Break Through Tech. The Knight Foundation School of Computing and Information Sciences is one of the fastest-growing in the country, and has one of the most diverse student populations. With three-quarters of FIU’s female CES students being Black, Latina or Indigenous, FIU provides the opportunity to exponentially grow the number of diverse women in computing.

In all the schools that Break Through Tech partners with, they look at the curricula critically to see if there are any prerequisites or courses that are preventing women from pipelining into CS, Smith said. The program also is focused on ensuring that the institutions are staffed  appropriately so that “there are people that wake up every day thinking about the success of women in their programs,” she added. Break Through Tech also focuses its work on improving recruitment into CS,  and making sure that internship opportunities are  inclusive.

In Q1 of next year, GET Miami plans to announce the new leader, have a launch event and then convene what it calls “the Big Think,” Smith said. “This is where we will convene the stakeholders across education, industries and the entrepreneurial ecosystem to share our advance research data and start to construct programs  that will fill the gap that exists in Miami.”

The GET Miami team will then get to work executing programs by the third quarter, in partnership with the Miami community.

“We are excited to see GET Cities expand to Miami, a city working to become one of the most diverse and inclusive tech hubs in the United States,” said Dr. Renee Wittemyer, Director of Program Strategy and Investment for Pivotal Ventures.  “It’s vital that we work together to ensure women are represented and leading a more vibrant tech industry. Greater representation drives greater innovation and better outcomes. GET Miami offers a strong blueprint to achieving these critical goals.”

A “Big Think” in Washington, DC brought together industry and ecosystem leaders to co-create solutions to gender equity in tech in their community. The photo at the top of this post is the same event. GET Miami plans to hold a Big Think event in the first quarter of 2022. Photos provided by GET Cities.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter and email her at ndahlbergbiz@gmail.com

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