Banking technology innovator Plaid is kicking off Black History Month ahead of schedule this year. The San Francisco-based company announced the launch of FinRise today. FinRise is a nine month accelerator program designed to support early-stage founders who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC).

“While technology has come a long way to level the playing field, the reality is that many minority-owned businesses are still frequently denied access to some of the most basic resources needed to start and grow their businesses,” the company said in a blog post.

The program, which was developed during an internal hackathon, offers three key areas of support:

  1. Access to capital and services
    Plaid is leveraging its network of venture capital firms, network service providers, and accelerators to offer startups networking opportunities, discounted services and ad credits, and pitch practice.
  2. Resources for growth
    The program will kick off with a three-day virtual bootcamp led by Plaid experts and other thought leaders who will lead workshops on technical, product, and business topics. The sessions will focus on topics like communication and storytelling, engineering best practices, navigating the policy and regulatory landscapes, and designing user-centric experiences. 
  3. Mentorship and support
    Participants will receive support for nine months following the bootcamp. In addition to benefitting from others in the bootcamp cohort, startups will have access to a dedicated account manager, an internal skillshare network, and mentorship from Plaid leaders.

The FinRise program certainly fills a gap. Historically, much of the attention on diversity has been focused on driving more women into the fintech sector. With Black History Month starting in February and the Black Lives Matter Movement still fresh in everyone’s mind, we can expect to see more initiatives dedicated to solving the gap in ethnic diversity in fintech and the technology field in general.

The first FinRise program will take place from April to December, 2021.

Eligible startups are U.S.-based, BIPOC majority-owned businesses incorporated in the United States with two or more employees. A panel of Plaid leaders will select the participants, giving preference to those that offer a product that leverages financial data.

Founders can apply starting today and the first cohort will be announced in early March.

Photo by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

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