LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a non-profit organization helping promising cleantech companies deliver market-ready solutions and further economic development for the LA region, announces the launch of its Diversity in Entrepreneurship Advisory Council to consciously grow an inclusive ecosystem that integrates women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups into the cleantech sector. The Advisory Council builds upon LACI’s current Diversity & Inclusion initiatives made possible through a $200,000 Small Business Forward grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and a $50,000 Growth Accelerator award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2016.
Today, LACI entrepreneurs and staff are in Sacramento speaking about the organization’s diversity, inclusion, impact and green economy initiatives with members of the California state legislature. LACI: Creating the Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s Economy features a technology showcase where LACI entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to discuss the economic, environmental and social benefits of their innovations with key state government decision makers. The event is supported by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, GO-Biz, the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission (CEC).
LACI is committed to serve as a national and global model for Diversity & Inclusion by increasing the participation of Women- and Minority-Owned Small Businesses (WMOSBs) in the Los Angeles cleantech sector. Leveraging proven successes, including its current woman- and minority-owned portfolio companies Ayyeka, Avisare, Divining Lab, GRID Logistics, Project Pals, Rain Systems, Repurpose and recently acquired Isidore Electronics Recycling (now Homeboy Recycling), LACI seeks to increase diversity in cleantech through a combination of outreach, mentorship, and cultural-specific programming. In addition to establishing the Diversity in Entrepreneurship Council, new programs include a Women in Cleantech steering committee and opportunities for young women in STEM programs to learn about careers in clean technology.
“Introducing underrepresented entrepreneurs to the opportunities and resources available through LACI is a primary goal of the new Advisory Council,” stated Neal Anderson, COO at LACI. “Diversity is in our DNA but we know we can do much more with dedicated focus. We aim to attract more diverse businesses to apply to be LACI portfolio companies and to increase our own workforce diversity within the organization.”
Last year, LACI was the first incubator of its kind to build a team dedicated to developing and leading Diversity & Inclusion programs with the addition of Executive-in-Residence, Tracy Gray, and Director of Community Engagement, Estelle Reyes. Gray, whose extensive career includes such high-profile roles as Senior Advisor to former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Systems Engineer for NASA’s Space Shuttle missions, and currently Managing Partner of venture capital firm The 22 Capital Group, and Reyes, formerly Executive Director of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) for the greater Los Angeles area, are among those speaking in Sacramento today.
“Diversity in the technology industry has clearly been an ongoing challenge,” commented Tracy Gray, LACI Executive-in-Residence and Diversity in Entrepreneurship Advisory Council Chair. “Strengthening the commitment to build a more inclusive environment in the cleantech world is not only the right thing to do, but it drives innovation, creates jobs and builds more successful businesses.”
The newly formed Diversity in Entrepreneurship Advisory Council consists of experienced and diverse leaders from business, government, academia and community organizations helping to design programming to best serve the region’s underrepresented populations. The Advisory Council is chaired by Tracy Gray, LACI Executive-in-Residence, and includes representatives from the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, JPMorgan Chase & Co, LA24, LA Coalition for the Economy & Jobs, REDF, Environmental Defense Fund, Avivar Capital, and LACI portfolio companies, Avisare and GRID Logistics.
The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is a private non-profit organization helping to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies by offering flexible office space, CEO coaching, mentoring, and access to a robust network of partnerships and capital. LACI was founded in 2011 as a cluster-driven economic development initiative supported by the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles. Recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI, LACI identifies local entrepreneurs across multiple cleantech business sectors and guides them to market, creating jobs that advance LA’s green economy. In just five years, LACI has helped 67 companies raise $123M in funding, created 1,300 jobs, and delivered more than $293M in long term economic value for the City of Los Angeles. LACI operates out of the La Kretz Innovation Campus with satellite offices in Northridge, CA and Silicon Valley and is the founder of the Network for Global Innovation (NGIN). Please visit: laci.org