UPDATE: Octane’s NonProfit Accelerator Worked With MedTech Color, Among Other Organizations Serving Under-Represented Groups

Octane’s nonprofit accelerator, which recently graduated its second cohort, worked with organizations that help those from under-represented groups advance and succeed.

Underrepresented groups in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in the U.S. include women and some minorities. African Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Hispanics collectively formed 26% of the population, but accounted for only 10% of the science and engineering workers, according to a 2015 study.

One of the nonprofits Octane recently worked with is MedTech Color, with HQ in LA. Kwame Ulmer is the founder.

Kwame Ulmer, founder, MedTech Color

MedTech Color’s goal is threefold:

– to drive thought leadership

– build a cohesive community of leaders of color in medtech

– and increase the number of underrepresented executives who enter and stay in the industry

In the fall of 2017, 15 African-American leaders from the medtech industry met over dinner in San Jose.

They shared their stories of navigating the complexities of the industry as an ethnic minority. They also explored what might be done to ease that navigation.

It was their belief that this industry, serving hundreds of millions globally, suffered from the lost learnings and insights from persons of color who are largely absent from high-level decisions.

Then the group, made up of VC’s, large company execs, early-stage company CEOs, and top-tier service providers, recognized the need for a plan of action, and set in place concrete steps to increase the number of persons of color who make a meaningful contribution the medtech industry.

One of its key programs is diversifying speaker panels at medtech events. As a result, one of its members was a panel speaker at an Octane medtech event.

Another nonprofit that Octane worked with in its nonprofit accelerator, which also works with underrepresented groups, is Innovo Robotics, which serves OC and LA.

This organization is for high-school level students with an interest in competitive robotics. Its goal is making the robotics competition environment more innovative.

Also, High School Inc,with HQ in Santa Ana, is another nonprofit that recently went through this accelerator. Its goal is to empower youth and strengthen communities through education and business partnerships.

Octane’s nonprofit accelerator is a 16-week program, designed to help a nonprofit increase awareness and enhance its ability to grow and sustain the positive affect they have in the community.

It’s supported by Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, which provides pro bono services for the process. Edwards provided two grants of for $75,000 each – one last year and one this year. 

“This is further demonstration of Edwards leadership on the matters which impact our community the most,” Octane CEO Bill Carpou told OCSN.

As part of the application process, this accelerator focuses on STEM-related nonprofits and also considers the geographic areas they serve.

See related article here.

About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

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