February 21, 2024

Meet The Duo Helping Diverse Talent Gain Real-World Tech Experience

Helen Huang and Sefunmi Osinaike are redefining inclusivity in the tech industry with Co.Lab, whose hands-on mentorship-based programs are helping Black and underrepresented Canadians get a headstart in tech.


Launched three years ago, Co.Lab has already made significant waves in the tech community, breaking barriers and fostering a sense of belonging among minorities. 

“Our entire motto at Co.Lab is you belong in tech,” Huang told Now Toronto. “When you’re outside the club, everything inside seems so mysterious. All you do is hyper-fixate on the things you don’t feel like you have. That’s why representation matters so much.”

Both Huang and Osinaike, recipients of Forbes 30 under 30 in 2022, have journeyed from uncertainty to creating a platform for individuals like themselves. 

Osinaike’s own experience, where a peer once told him tech jobs at places like BlackBerry weren’t for them, fueled his passion for change. 

“The more Black people I began to see and meet in the tech space, the more I quickly realized that it’s more than possible,” said Osinaike.

The Diverse Tech Talent Program

Co.Lab recently concluded its Diverse Tech Talent Program (DTTP), a federally-funded initiative that helped upskill around 500 Black Canadians and new immigrants. 

In collaboration with three other Black-led organizations, this program provided essential resources for participants to secure jobs within a year.

The impact of Co.Lab is evident in its numbers: over 1,000 professionals trained in over 60 countries, with many alumni now working in giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Shopify. 

Since 2021, Co.Lab grads have collectively earned over $50 million in annual salaries post-program. 

An impressive 90% of their trainees are people of color, 40% are women, and the program boasts a 92% completion rate.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.