Blue Ridge Labs Seeks Mission-Driven Entrepreneurs
Next Fellowship to address impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.
September 28, 2020
Blue Ridge Labs, the Court Street incubator that supports and develops early-stage social tech ventures, has launched a range of Brooklyn-based startups including fintech firms Propel and Alice and civic tech nonprofit JustFix.nyc. Given the public health and economic crises facing the city since March, the program’s work is of particular importance. With applications currently open for Blue Ridge Labs’ seventh Fellowship cohort, entrepreneurs have an opportunity to dig into new ideas and build solutions of their own.
This year’s Fellowship focuses on a pressing challenge – addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. Fellows will analyze the effects of the pandemic on New York households and neighborhoods, and explore topics including systemic failures in housing and healthcare and improving remote learning outcomes. As Managing Director Bill Cromie explains, “across the country, Black individuals are dying at 2.4 times the rate of white individuals, and many of the hardest-hit zip codes in NYC are Latinx and Asian communities. We’ve received a strong response from community members to tackle the unequal effects this crisis has had across our city, and believe our Fellows’ work can support a more racially equitable future as we recover.”
During the first two months of the Fellowship, the cohort will work together to conduct research on issues and opportunities related to this challenge. Fellows will then form teams to further develop and test specific ideas over an additional two months. To support their work, Blue Ridge Labs provides Fellows with funding - including a stipend, health insurance reimbursement, and research budget – along with access to the program’s broad community of startups, mentors, and entrepreneurs.
The next Fellowship will run from January to May 2021 and will be remote-first, using virtual tools for both collaboration between Fellows and community research and outreach. In keeping with Blue Ridge Labs’ belief that groups benefit from a wide range of backgrounds, applications are open for design, engineering, product, and subject expert roles.
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Photos credit: Blue Ridge Labs