Dear BETA community,
We condemn the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. We are outraged by the racial profiling of BETA founders in the Uptown WeWork building by Tom Austin.
In response to these heinous actions, the Minneapolis - St. Paul entrepreneurship community has proposed this pledge.
Institutional racism exists within our entrepreneurial ecosystem which holds Black founders back from the same trajectories experienced by their white counterparts. And though we’ve made efforts to broaden our reach to and support of Black founders, we now recognize that we could and should have done more.
We—the founders of BETA—acknowledge that our actions and inactions have negatively impacted Minnesota’s Black founders. Specifically, we do not have anyone from the Black community on our board, and up until recently decisions regarding who is selected into our cohorts have almost entirely been made by white men. This is unacceptable, and we can do better.
Therefore, as an extension to the pledge, we are committing ourselves, and the organization, to measurable change with defined deadlines. After consulting with a small group of our Black BETA alumni, BETA will be making the following changes:
- The BETA board will add a Black board member
- The group making selections for the next cohort (and all future cohorts) will include at least two underestimated founders, with at least one coming from the Black founder community
- The cohort education plan will now include training on tools and techniques for hiring processes that result in diverse teams
If we do not fulfill these commitments by December 31, 2020, Reed, Ryan, and Nels will remove themselves from the board.
This is the beginning of this work, as we plan to continue to listen, learn, and take more actions to address racism. If you would like to propose an addition to BETA’s board, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any other thoughts or enhancements to the organization regarding these matters can be sent to email@example.com.
This shouldn’t have taken us this long; thank you for your courage in letting us know that we can and must do better.
Reed Robinson & Ryan Broshar
(with the support of BETA’s Executive Director—Casey Shultz—and the remaining board members—Amy Pearson, Allison Barmann, & Nels Pederson)