COCO Announces Second Annual Entrepreneur-In-Residence
Coworking Innovator Continues Efforts to Expand Entrepreneurial Diversity in the Twin Cities
MINNEAPOLIS, May 30, 2017 – COCO, Minnesota’s leading coworking and collaborative space provider and home to hundreds of startup and small businesses, today announced their second Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) position recipient, Damola Ogundipe, CEO and founder of Civic Eagle. COCO offers fellowships for entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities and awards one Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) position as part of the company’s partnership with Code2040 and Google for Entrepreneurs, and its involvement with the Code2040 Residency program.
While blacks and Latinxs earn nearly 18% of computer science bachelor’s degrees, they make up only around 5% of the technical workforce at top tech companies and only 1% of venture-backed tech companies have a black founder (Source: Code2040). To help support talented, underrepresented entrepreneurs as they enter the tech industry, COCO is hosting it’s second EIR, part of the nationwide Code2040 program’s initiative to bring more black and Latino/a tech workers into the industry by the year 2040. As COCO’s EIR, Ogundipe will be focused on working on the launch of his company while also supporting the local Black and Latinx entrepreneurial community. He will receive a stipend of $40,000, membership to COCO, a retreat to the Googleplex in Silicon Valley for training and networking, and ongoing support from Code2040, Google for Entrepreneurs and COCO to grow his business.
New this year is Code2040(5). A program for five founders selected by Ogundipe, which will include COCO memberships and a board of advisors providing guidance to the entrepreneurs for a period of six months. The board of advisors includes business leaders from a variety of areas such as accounting, marketing, finance, product development and management, operations and technology. The inaugural board includes the following professionals: Tom Hodnefield, partner, RedPath and Company; Scott Broberg, SVP of amplification, Fast Horse; Al Alexander, VP, Sunrise Banks; Laurie Englert, VP of customer experience, Milestone AV Technologies; Jill Measells, CEO, The Works Museum; Justin Kaufenberg, CEO, Sports Engine; and Anton Vincent, Private Equity Chair, Moxie Capital.
“The Twin Cities is an incredible place to start a business, and we want to be sure that founders with good ideas get the same opportunity as founders with good networks,” said COCO CEO and Co-Founder Kyle Coolbroth. “We believe strongly that access to a community of peers building businesses and the support of an all-star board of advisors are two things that will make a big difference for these five founders.”
“Code2040 first launched the Residency Program to address the systemic exclusion of Black and Latinx founders from the tech entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said Laura Weidman Powers, co-founder and CEO, Code2040. “As we head into our third cohort, we’re continually inspired by the innovative technologies that these entrepreneurs are bringing to market. They’re collectively expanding the industry’s perception of who can be a tech founder.”
The Code2040(5) program is yet another way COCO is striving to create more inclusive communities of women, veterans, LGBTQIA, and people of color. For more information on COCO’s leadership work in supporting entrepreneurial inclusion and diversity, to apply for a COCO Fellowship or learn about sponsoring a COCO Fellow, visit the COCO website.
COCO is Minnesota’s leading provider of coworking and collaborative workspaces for individuals, teams, entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. We offer memberships that provide access to an open network of beautifully designed coworking environments, meeting venues and educational and social events throughout the Twin Cities. Locations include Minneapolis (Downtown, Uptown and Northeast) and St. Paul (Lowertown). COCO is one of nine Google for Entrepreneurs tech hubs in North America, bringing the best of Google’s global resources to its members.
Code2040 is a nonprofit organization that creates programs that increase the representation of Blacks and Latino/as in the innovation economy. We believe the tech sector, communities of color, and the country as a whole will be stronger if talent from all backgrounds is included in the creation of the companies, programs, and products of tomorrow.