Last week, we republished a story on the Heartland Tech section about American Underground, a hub for tech programming in Durham, North Carolina and a partner organization of Google for Entrepreneurs. Phillipe Charles, the director of communications and member experience for American Underground, spoke with author Muriel Vega about the steps American Underground takes to ensure that its programming appeals to people who don’t fit the mold of the stereotypical young, white, male entrepreneur, and why it’s important to do so:

We’re at an exciting point in the city’s history and future. There are a lot of ideas and people coming into the city. What that also means is that people who have been in the city don’t exactly know how to connect with those new resources or avoid being displaced by those newcomers.

Mid-sized cities across the U.S. are increasingly fielding interest from tech companies that want to build a new office there, like Amazon does, or that want to develop educational programs for aspiring tech workers in these cities, like Facebook, Apple, and Cisco do. As business and government leaders weigh partnering with a tech giant — or even launching a new local accelerator — they need to identify during the planning stages how these new programs will recruit people from a variety of backgrounds within the city.

American Underground, for example, launched a residency program for artists — even though it doesn’t seem like a typical fit for a tech incubator, the program ensures that residents outside of American Underground’s usual reach are able to come see what the organization is all about.

Send feedback, news tips, or story suggestions to me via email — bookmark our Heartland Tech Channel, and please remember to share these #HeartlandTech stories on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Thanks for reading,

Anna Hensel

Heartland Tech Reporter

P.S. Please enjoy this video from USA Today, “Colorado taking steps to get its own Hyperloop

 

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