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Hillman wants to help women and minorities start tech businesses

Accelerator hopes to help women and minorities start tech businesses (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - There is a new place to go in the Tri-State for tech types who want to get started in business.

Hillman Accelerator has the goal of inclusion to make sure everyone has a chance to launch a startup. "The people we talked to were way too white, and way too male and I'm saying that, right?" said Mike Venerable of CincyTech. "This problem is real. We have to change the diversity and the inclusion outlook of the venture industry and the tech industry."

Now, there may be a solution to that problem for local entrepreneurs. Much like similar operations like the Brandery helped Roadtrippers and ChoreMonster grow, this new tech accelerator is designed to do the same.

But unlike other incubators, Hillman focuses on lending support to women and minorities with great ideas. "We have eleven million people in the state of Ohio, and everyone is pulling in the same direction, and everybody has the opportunity to succeed, that is way more powerful than if only some people do," said David Goodman with Ohio Development Services Agency.

"To have a devoted focus on entrepreneurs that maybe don't fit that traditional venture capital pattern is really, really important," adds entrepreneur Tanisha Robinson.

"This opportunity is great and for what we do, which is promoting the idea of diversity, because we believe that it is through diversity and in exchange good things happen," according to entrepreneur Moulay Essakalli.

It's essentially a first of its kind accelerator in the entire state of Ohio and with the influx of start-ups in the local business community, it likely won't be the last.

Since HIllman places a strong emphasis on diversity, it's only fitting it will call the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center home. Hillman is set to move in at the beginning of May.

Applications for the 2017 class of five startups are now open.

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