Black tech businesses in Atlanta receive $2.35 million from Google

Portrait Coffee is one of 35 Atlanta businesses to be funded by a Google program

Aaron Fender, one of the founders of an Atlanta-based, Black-owned coffee company, will be receiving $50,000 from Google out of it’s $2.35 million funding for Black businesses, The Atlanta Journal-Constituent reported.

Portrait Coffee is Fender’s company and it’s one of the 35 Black Georgian tech businesses to be funded by the Google for Startups program.

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Launched by Google in 2011, Google for Startups partners with local startup communities, but in June they created the Black Founders Fund to help Black businesses and entrepreneurs as part of its commitment to racial equality.

Portrait Coffee is a brick-and-mortar store on the West End of Atlanta that was launched in December, before coronavirus reached the U.S.

“We are committed to helping Black founders who have been deeply impacted by COVID-19 and who are disproportionately locked out of access to the funding they need to succeed,” Jewel Burks Solomon, head of Google for Startups US, said in a release.

People walk past the Google pavilion at CES 2020 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 8, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
People walk past the Google pavilion at CES 2020 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 8, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Fender wants his coffee shop to change the perception of local coffee shops which are often seen as European-inspired and exclusive to young, white people.

“When people think of drinking really good coffee, they think of this white, Scandanavian minimalist coffee shop,” Fender said. “With Portrait, we asked why there just really hasn’t been a good coffee company that catered to black people in such a way that says black people not only love coffee, they love great coffee.”

Google plans to give 76 Black tech businesses across the nation $5 million. Atlanta, a prominent city for Black tech startups, received almost half of the overall funding.

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Tech companies, dominated by white males, have been criticized for overlooking entrepreneurs of colors, some of whom struggle to secure investors for their businesses.

“By combining cash awards with Google for Startups mentorship and programming, we hope to help create a more level playing field for these founders, who are building amazing companies and making an impact on their communities,” Solomon continued.

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