Apple says that it will invest $60 million to support minority entrepreneurs, a move that comes as part of a “racial equity and justice” project to challenge “systemic racism.”
“There’s a lack of diversity among venture capital and banking funders,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, to Reuters. “We looked for where we thought there was opportunity for our resources to do good things.”
The report added that Apple will invest $10 million in a fund with Harlem Capital, a New York-based early-stage venture firm, and another $25 million in Siebert Williams Shank’s Clear Vision Impact Fund, which provides financing to businesses with an emphasis on minority-owned firms.
Apple is also investing another $25 million into the Propel Center, a facility in Atlanta where historically Black colleges and universities will collaborate on programs in entrepreneurship, and app development.
Apple’s new investments are a part of the company’s $100 million “Racial Equity Justice Initiative,” a project that was announced last June, after the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
The initiative seeks “to help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color,” according to Apple.
The company also plans to establish an app development academy in Detroit, Michigan, with Michigan State University. The academy will provide a free 10-to-12-month course and will seek to teach 1,000 students skills in coding, design, and marketing every year.
“We wanted to see more Black and brown developers,” said Jackson. “They tend to be focusing on the southeastern part of the United States. But Detroit has over 50,000 small businesses that are owned by Black and brown people.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook added that “we are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment.”
Cook added that Apple is launching the Racial Equity Justice Initiative to “empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long.”
“We are honored to help bring this vision to bear, and to match our words and actions to the values of equity and inclusion we have always prized at Apple,” said Cook.
While Apple works to prop up other businesses, the company has provided obstacles for others. Last week, Apple banned Parler, an alternative to Twitter, from its app store, effectively excluding the Parler app from all iPhones, after President Donald Trump was banned from Twitter.
Apple justifies its decision by claiming that words on the platform may “incite violence,” a narrative that big tech companies are now using to take action against the president, political dissenters, and their competition — while seemingly ignoring Twitter, where “Hang Mike Pence” was trending just last week.