- Thirty entrepreneurs competed in the Advancing Black Entrepreneurs StartupBus, a five-day entrepreneurship boot camp on wheels designed to train future black business leaders. JPMorgan Chase partnered with StartupBus on the competition through its JPMorgan Chase Advancing Black Pathways initiative and Chase for Business.
- The StartupBus program's participants were selected from cities including New York, Washington, Baltimore, Detroit, Atlanta and Oakland, California. The program included presentations by speakers, trips to historic sites as well as a curriculum "designed to train and inspire the black business leaders of tomorrow," organizers said in a statement.
- During the trip, participants formed teams to conceive, build and launch products focused on addressing and improving black Americans' financial health, organizers said. Participants received guidance on the development of products and pitches from mentors including business owners, technologists and previous participants in StartupBus competitions.
Boot camp-type programming is on the rise as organizations realize the value of concentrated learning for specific audiences and skillsets. Some employers have attempted to capitalize on the trend by launching their own boot camps as a way to both train current workers on new skills and expand available talent pools for vacant roles.
This particular edition of the StartupBus touches another issue pertinent to HR: diversity. The topic is relevant in several contexts, including talent development, as diversity initiatives in some organizations ground to a halt due to market conditions, organizational "fatigue" and other challenges.
Employers that have put forward diversity and inclusion initiatives have found that though change is hard, HR can work to make D&I actionable and promote the concept of shared ownership around D&I initiatives. In training, HR can also make an impact by making mentorship programs more accessible to traditionally underrepresented groups.
External initiatives like StartupBus may help to expand diverse talent pools on the candidate side of the hiring equation, but leading companies are also doing so internally. Facebook, for example, recently announced an initiative to make underrepresented groups in STEM fields at least 50% of its entire workforce by 2024.