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Startups ask for government aid to improve diversity

More than 113 startups and the Google-backed trade association Engine are laying out their vision for creating a more inclusive economy – and it starts with more funding from the government.


In a letter to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the startups said the U.S. government can help address some of the structural inequalities that have left minority founders at a disadvantage. The letter, which is addressed to Janine Scianna, the congressional affairs specialist at the USPTO, comes in response to a request for public comment from the National Council for Expanding American Innovation, a newly-created council that will advise a new national strategy for creating a more inclusive economy.

The startups, including Eventbrite and Voatz, suggested increasing funding for federal loan and grant programs, investing in incubators and accelerators aimed at boosting underrepresented founders, and offering tax credits to VCs or angel investors who make investments in diverse founders, among other ideas.

"As the nation continues the necessary work of addressing systemic inequality and structural racism, the government should emphasize improving diversity in innovation and entrepreneurship as one avenue to increase opportunities and create wealth in underserved and historically marginalized communities," the organizations wrote in the letter.

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