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Three students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) have been named 2023 Astronaut Scholars, marking a historic moment for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).  A Historical Moment For HBCUs The Astronaut Scholarship was founded in 1984 by the surviving members of the Mercury 7 crew members. It stands as one of the nation’s most prominent scholarships for students pursuing STEM degrees. N.C. A&T is the first HBCU to have more than one Astronaut Scholarship recipient in a year, a significant milestone in promoting diversity in STEM fields.  The scholarships,

Belong, a London-based fintech startup has recently launched out of stealth, following a €3.4 million ($3.6 million) pre-seed funding.  This achievement marks the largest pre-seed round ever raised by female founders in Europe. Helping millenials build wealth Millennials are the first generation in history to be worse off than their parents financially. Belong was established in 2023 by former investment banker Avion Gray and behavioral economist Samantha Rosenberg to change this. Nick Hungerford, a pioneer in European fintech, brought together co-founders Gray and Rosenberg. Hungerford’s legacy continues to influence the company, even after passing in July 2023. “We

Pa Edrissa Manjang, a Black Uber Eats driver in Oxfordshire, UK, received a payout after facial-recognition checks prevented him from accessing the app, the BBC reported. Racially Discriminatory Facial Recognition Checks  Initially, when Manjang began working for Uber Eats in November 2019, the Microsoft-powered app didn’t frequently request facial verification.  However, as the app’s AI-driven checks increased, Manjang faced an unexpected hurdle. Manjang said he was asked to take photos of himself “multiple times a day” because the system failed to recognize him. He told Uber Eats: “Your algorithm, by the looks of things, is racist.”

Google and Apple are potentially joining forces to integrate Google’s chatbot technology, Gemini, into every iPhone amid controversies surrounding its promotion of diversity. Google’s Gemini The two tech giants are discussing licensing parts of Google’s Gemini bot for the iPhone’s built-in AI tools, such as its Siri assistant. Bloomberg reported that Google’s shares surged 6.6% following the news. The move comes after Gemini was criticized for generating images of historical figures that inaccurately represented their genders and ethnicities. The backlash prompted Google to pause the image generation tool. The potential partnership also raises questions of privacy

Created by fintech professional Viola Carmona, Tussle is the new livestream platform taking on TikTok’s Live feature with better revenue terms and fewer restrictions. Carmona’s Journey To Tussle TikTok first introduced its Live feature in 2019, enabling creators to earn through virtual gifts. However, according to AFROTECH, Carmona’s friends and creators experienced the platform’s 50/50 revenue split firsthand after often conducting near 24-hour livestreams only to receive a fraction of their due earnings. “Some of my creator friends that I built a community with, they found a lot of problems with

Leigh Higginbotham Butler has a pioneering AI platform and network for Black women, Akina. Akina, which means “strong family bond” in Swahili, originated from a personal need to create a safe space for discussions and support among Black mothers. It has since evolved into a Community-as-a-Service (CaaS) app and platform that leverages culturally competent AI and machine learning technology. From A Social Network To A Movement Akina was initially started 2020 as a social media platform for Black mothers. “It came about in the aftermath of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmuad

Atlanta-based agency Chroma Creators is using artificial intelligence to deliver branding and marketing that is crafted by AI but inspired by Black culture. Chroma Creators Chroma Creators founder, CEO, and chief creative officer Octavia Warren is known for her success with multicultural branding and marketing agency Creative Juice. With over a decade of debunking stereotypes, Warren is now using the power of artificial intelligence to reshape how brands connect with Black audiences.  “I remember a time when you could not find a stock photo of a black hand holding an iPhone,” said Warren in

Women’s History Month 2024 shines a spotlight on ‘Champions of Change,’ celebrating women who advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).  This month-long observance in March honors the role of women in American history and acknowledges their ongoing efforts to create a more equitable world.  This year’s theme particularly resonates with the tech industry, where women, especially Black women, are significantly underrepresented, undermined, and excluded.  In this context, we have spotlighted some Black women in tech whose startups are breaking barriers, building bridges, and making the world a more equitable place. Laura Weidman Powers – Code2040

Uber Technologies Inc. has officially led a $100 million Series B funding round for Moove, an African mobility fintech company.  This investment propels Moove’s valuation to an impressive $750 million and marks Uber’s first foray into African continent investment. Moove Founded in Lagos in 2020 by British-born Nigerian entrepreneurs Ladi Delano and Jide Odunsi, Moove has revolutionized vehicle financing. It operates with a business model that provides access to vehicle ownership for mobility entrepreneurs who traditionally face barriers in accessing financing.  Moove’s model allows drivers to own vehicles by paying a portion of their weekly income, which

Nearly 9 in 10 (87%) firms in the UK now prioritize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), a new report claims, with AI tools playing a significant role in this transformation.  The findings come from a recent Workday survey, Global Blueprint for Belonging and Diversity, with views from CEOs and leaders in HR, IT, and finance. Can AI Support DEI Programs? The report found that overall, having the right technology stack is essential and can be critical in enabling DEI. In particular, it was found that there is a significant correlation between AI adoption and effective

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