Amazon has announced a new diversity-related initiative called Amazon Catalytic Capital to fund underrepresented entrepreneurs.
The $150 million program marks Amazon’s first time funding an outside venture capital firm as a limited partner, Reuters reported. This funding will help him support 10+ funds and 200+ startups over the next year. Amazon will provide access to executives and employees in addition to cash.
“We want these companies and their founders to have the same access to capital as any other company,” said Peter Krawiec, Amazon’s senior vice president of Worldwide Enterprise Development, in a statement.
Funds that receive funding from Amazon include Collide Capital. Raise future funds. Share your venture. and Techstars Rising Stars Fund.
The program builds on Amazon’s other recent diversity initiatives, including the AWS Impact Accelerator, which supports startups led by minority founders, and the $150 million Black Business Accelerator announced last year. increase.
Amazon has faced allegations of racism in recent years, both at the corporate level and at its warehouses. Employees filed several lawsuits last year, alleging they were systematically bypassing minority groups for promotions in favor of white employees.
Amazon has shown some progress in increasing the number of underrepresented employees in corporate positions. The proportion of women in level 7) has increased from 31.4% in 2020 to 32.7% in 2021. Percentage of Black and Latinx employees increased from 7.2. % and 7.5% to 8.5% and 8.7%, respectively.
Leadership positions (Level 8) within the company are less diverse, with 24% of executive leaders being female, up 22.8% from the previous year. Black executive leaders make up 5.5% of senior leaders and 4.5% of Latino senior leaders, up from 3.8% and 3.9% the previous year.
Alicia Boehler-Davies and Dave Boseman, Amazon’s black chief executives who helped oversee Amazon’s e-commerce business, retired earlier this year.