Venture capital (VC) is often the initial ingredient in formulating the success of many innovative companies in today’s society. As progressive as the industry may seem though, the demographics of the sector haven’t exactly kept pace with the nation’s changing population.
One firm, BLCK VC, has sought to introduce more minorities into the predominantly white world of venture capital by creating a platform and community for Black business leaders to connect, share insights and excel within their industries.
FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller discussed at length ways in which the VC community can solve its diversity issue with BLCK VC Founding Board Member Earnest Sweat.
Sweat argued that investment companies still suffer from a lack of diversity, especially ones in the transportation and logistics industries. He attributed the disconnect between hiring managers and minority candidates to the fact that most promote from within their firms. The “siloing” of talent has inhibited many prospective applicants of color from entering the industry.
“Inequality is not going to be over in two weeks, two months, two years or even two decades,” Sweat said. “But this is real work that we need to be continually pushed forward.”
According to Sweat, 80% of VC firms don’t have a single black investor. His goal is to see that percentage decrease dramatically within the next couple of decades. So far, BLCK VC has established four chapters with about 300 investors ranging from angels to corporate venture capitalists within its community.
Sweat credited many portfolio companies for reaching out recently for advice about how they can set goals for racial diversification within their workplace. He urges more companies to follow suit and encourages business leaders not to be afraid to set metrics and targets for hiring a greater number of minority candidates.
“With everything that’s happened this year, BLCK VC has provided resources for businesses to learn how to hire diverse talent within their portfolio companies as well as hiring minorities within their venture capital space,” Sweat said.
Check out the video below to hear the entire conversation between Earnest Sweat and FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller.