Amazon today announced it has launched a $30 million dollar commitment to early stage startups led by Black, Latino, LGBTQIA+, and women founders as part of its new accelerators. Over the new three-year commitment, AWS will provide funding and guidance for a series of programs that will help these organizations build successful companies.
Each qualifying startup receives up to $225,000 in cash and credits, extensive training, mentoring and technical guidance, as well as introductions to Amazon leaders and teams, networking opportunities with potential investors, and ongoing advisory support. Eligible startups can now apply to the first of these programs, the AWS Impact Accelerator for Black Founders. While the Women Founders program will open in July, and the Latino and LGBTQIA+ Founders program will both open in 2023.
Each qualifying startup will receive the following benefits:
- Unrestricted cash grant of $125,000.
- Up to $100,000 in AWS service credits through AWS Activate, a program that has helped hundreds of thousands of early stage startups grow their businesses in the cloud. Startups that qualify for AWS Activate can use these credits for scalable, reliable, and secure AWS Cloud services such as compute, storage, database, analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning.
- Access to more than 80 exclusive offers, through AWS Activate, on products and services that help startups grow, from companies like Dropbox, New Relic, Notion, and Stripe.
- Access to a dedicated team of mentors and AWS technologists to guide startups during and after the program.
- Access to AWS IQ for startups to engage AWS-certified, third-party developers when building their cloud-based solutions.
- Engagements with Amazon teams and leaders to discuss potential collaborations and get relevant advice. For example, a startup working on a music app can be connected for a confidential discussion with the Amazon Music team, or a startup working on a voice-enabled chat solution can be connected with the Alexa team.
- Networking sessions with investors and pitch coaching from startup experts to help participants raise seed funding.
Applications open today for the first AWS Impact Accelerator for Black Founders, with the program kicking off in June for U.S.-based startups. The first AWS Impact Accelerator for Women Founders will take place in the second half of the year for U.S.-based startups. The AWS Impact Accelerator for LGBTQIA+ Founders and AWS Impact Accelerator for Latino Founders will follow in 2023.
After a startup completes an AWS Impact Accelerator, they will continue to receive guidance and resources through a virtual community, alumni events, permanent access to the curriculum (including future content), and ongoing advisory support from mentors and AWS technical experts.
“When we launched in 2006, AWS changed the game for startups by giving them access to the same technology as the world’s largest enterprises,” said Adam Selipsky, CEO of Amazon Web Services. “Today, we continue to level the playing field so that founders can pursue their ideas and grow successful businesses regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or race. AWS is committed to helping underrepresented founders succeed and build powerful cloud solutions that capture the attention of investors and customers. The possibilities for these startups are endless, and I can’t wait to see what they create.”
I have over 10 years of experience in the retail industry including expertise in marketing, operations, merchandising, buying, shopping and technology. I am a former senior managing director of The School of Retailing, University of Alberta. My education includes a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from The University of Alberta in Marketing, Certificate in Real Estate and a Diploma in Fashion Merchandising and Buying from LasSalle College, a Canadian private school founded in 1959 by fashion designer Jean-Paul Morin.