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Stanford and Duke join certification program to boost diversity education with investors and the c-suite

A partnership between the University of North Carolina’s Kenan Flagler Entrepreneurship Center, the Opportunity Hub, and 100 Black Angels and Allies Fund, set up to improve representation and support of diverse founders in the tech industry, is getting more heavy-hitting partners from Duke and Stanford.

As part of the partnership, faculty affiliated with Stanford and Duke will join educators to staff the DEIS Practicum Certificate and Black Technology Ecosystem Investment Certificate programs, which, respectively, try to address ways in which management can engage in diversity and inclusion in a systemic way beyond simply human resources hires and equity in compensation and ways in which more Black investors can become involved in backing startups.  

“In order to address issues like DEI at a systemic organizational level and to address the pervasive issues causing the wealth gap, we need to work together to help make this kind of education more readily available,” said Entrepreneurship Center Executive Director Vickie Gibbs, in a statement. “Together, we are taking action and making progress toward creating a more equitable society and entrepreneurial community.”

The addition of affiliated faculty from the Stanford Technology Ventures program and Duke University does more than just further validate the program, according to Rodney Sampson, the executive chairman and chief executive of OHUB and co-founder and general partner of 199 Black Allies & Angels fund. For Sampson, who also serves as a visiting professor at the University of North Carolina and Duke, the addition of the two schools will mean more exposure among the two universities’ alumni

“It also expands the reach of these solutions and insights into the alumni and entrepreneurial communities of these two amazing universities,” said Sampson in a statement. 

The framework that Sampson has developed involves a multi-pronged approach for employers that includes: a review of the extent to which diversity, equity, and inclusion is operationalized in corporate boards and governance; in assessments of hiring, promotion and human resources practices; in procurement and vendor services; in innovation and product development; in resources on going to market to reach diverse audiences; in investments into Black and Latino communities, and in monitoring the impact of the business’ operations on the community.

The framework was recently cited in a report from no less auspicious an organization than the Brookings Institution in a paper authored by Amy Liu and Reniya Dinkins.

“When chief executives demonstrate their own work to dismantle bias and create a culture of true belonging, it provides a level of trust and credibility needed for these firms and leaders to collaborate with others in bringing about broader progress and sustained prosperity in their home regions,” the authors wrote. 

For Stanford University in particular, the opportunity to embrace diversity and education training comes as the university tries to rehabilitate an image tarnished after its rush to embrace policies crafted by the former White House administration that called for universities to limit diversity training

“For too long, diversity, equity and inclusion have been an afterthought in entrepreneurship and innovation. I am grateful to be collaborating with thoughtful, action-oriented colleagues to address systemic racism. Together, we’ll be able to create important new network connections between our organizations and to develop learning insights that can be shared with educators and organizations around the world, ” added Tom Byers, Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University and STVP Faculty Director.