Amazon‘s AWS today announced it will invest more than $30 million to early-stage startups led by Black, Latino, LGBTQIA+, and women founders as part of its new AWS Impact Accelerator. The investment is part of a three-year program, during which time Amazon will launch funding and mentoring programs for startups.
Each qualifying startup will receive up to $225,000 in cash and credits, extensive training, mentoring and technical guidance, as well as introductions to Amazon leaders and teams, networking opportunities with potential investors, and ongoing advisory support.
According to Amazon, AWS Impact Accelerator proposal is to provide guidance on key milestones, such as raising funds or being accepted to a Seed-stage accelerator program, to pre-Seed startups. So, during the eight-week program, participants will access a wide-ranging, personalized training curriculum from sessions delivered by AWS startup experts and guest speakers, about subjects such as cloud infrastructure or how to reach investors and pitch your business.
Startups will also have the opportunity to engage with Amazon teams and leaders to discuss potential collaborations and get relevant advice. For example, a startup working on a music app or a startup working on a voice-enabled chat solution can be connected with the Amazon Music or Alexa teams.
Startups will also learn how to use Amazon processes such as “two-way door decision making” and “working backwards” to drive day-to-day decisions and build nimble, innovative teams.
“When we launched in 2006, AWS changed the game for startups by giving them access to the same technology as the world’s largest enterprises. We level the playing field so that founders can pursue their ideas and grow successful businesses regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or race. AWS is committed to helping underrepresented founders succeed and build powerful cloud solutions that capture the attention of investors and customers. The possibilities for these startups are endless,” said Adam Selipsky, CEO of Amazon Web Services.
The programs focused on Black and women founders will take place this year for US-based startups. The program for LGBTQIA+ and Latino founders will follow in 2023.