March 30, 2022

Brazil’s Culture Capital Lacks Tech Diversity, But This Founder And His Incubator Program Plan To Change The Game For Black-Led Startups

More than half the country’s workforce identifies as Black or mixed race in Brazil, yet less than 30% of these workers occupy managerial roles. Beyond the scarcity of Black professionals in IT departments in Brazil, a study by diversity initiative Preta Lab in partnership with consulting firm ThoughtWorks in 2020 found that 50.4% of teams do not have “non-heterosexual” staff.

The inclusion of indigenous people and people with disabilities is also nearly absent in Brazil: 85.4% of the participants reported no disabled people in their team, and in 95.9%, there were no indigenous people at all.

Another interesting fact is that Black people in Brazil are three times more likely to get their credit denied by banks than their white counterparts. This gap in access is not just in traditional capital but in VC funding.

But Paulo Rogério Nunes, co-founder of Vale do Dendê, a social impact accelerator and innovation center for Black-run startups in Salvador da Bahia is looking to change things.

Vale do Dendê recently closed an incubator program for audio and small music producers funded by a donation from Spotify and an acceleration program for local food startups. 

The fund’s objective is to foster innovation, creativity and, above all, give visibility to black entrepreneurship carried out by Afro-descendants.

The business startup supports entrepreneurs who need mentoring and consulting. It also has a school of innovation, entrepreneurship, and practicality – in which it offers courses related to this subject.

It also acts as a consultancy firm that supports companies, foundations, and any organization capable of understanding the relationship between diversity and innovation.

Throughout his childhood, Rogério reportedly always had his parents as a reference. From a very young age, he ventured into projects related to entrepreneurship, such as the production of a newspaper within his community, the production of shows with friends, and the sale of graffiti t-shirts.

Considered one of the 100 most influential afro-descendants in the world by Most Influential People of African Descent, Paulo has had the opportunity to meet the former president of the United States – Barrack Obama – due to the relevance of his work.

He hopes to use his network, expertise, and passion to diversify Brazil’s tech scene.

He hopes to use his network, expertise and passion to diversify Brazil’s tech scene.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.