Barry Givens’ star is rising in the finance and technology arenas, having engineered some of the most transformative partnerships in history for Black companies. The young entrepreneur is seizing the moment and the opportunity to narrow the wealth gap that will drain over a trillion dollars a year from the economy over the next decade. That drain translates into a loss of thousands of dollars per household – Black and White.
Givens is one of three general partners at Collab Capital, a $50 million dollar investment fund that invests exclusively in Black-owned companies and focuses specifically on Black entrepreneurs that are getting into the innovation economy.
Now, as managing director at Techstars Accelerator, Givens is what industry insiders call a member of the “new order,” navigating his way through the corporate maze and emerging as a leader in the business arena.
But the driven entrepreneur doesn’t miss an opportunity to share valuable resources to help others carve their niche in the business arena. Givens joined Munson Steed on rolling out’s “A Seat at the Table” for a conversation on fast-tracking Black-owned businesses in the innovation economy and Techstars’ second year partnering with Cox Enterprises for the Social Impact Accelerator program.
What is an accelerator?
An accelerator is typically a short [process] where you bring in a subset of companies to develop your business, grow your networks, and build your product.
At Techstars and Cox Enterprises we have 10 companies focusing on social impact. Through the partnership, we’re working with people with innovative ideas to bring positive change to underrepresented populations, underserved communities, and environmental sustainability in neglected areas.
The gist of the Cox Techstars Social Impact Accelerator training is that you should be so immersed in the classes that you do three years’ worth of work in three months … and come out with customers and can potentially fundraise.
How did the current economic climate impact the decision to form the partnership?
With everything that happened in 2020, whether it was the medical inequities or the health inequities, to dealing with the pandemic, to the Black men and women being murdered by police officers the social impact wasn’t good enough, and it didn’t sit right with me.
I wasn’t happy with that broad of a focus. So, I went to the heads of Techstars and the heads of Cox Enterprises and said, ‘We have to do more. I really want to focus this program on problems that are affecting my community. And right now, those things are social injustice and systemic racism.’
So, we found 10 companies to bring in this program and work on solving these problems through innovation and technology. We’re going to make sure that the things that we invest in are bringing real change into the communities that need it.
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