ATLANTA — Today, as part of their mission to level the playing field for underrepresented founders,  Google for Startups kicked off the Atlanta Founders Academy — an eight-month program providing 47 Georgia based Black, LatinX, Female and Veteran founders with the tools and expertise needed to drive their business forward during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Google for Startups announced the Founders Academy in February, originally planning for four day-long in-person summits with Google mentors and experts focused on everything from sales, to customer acquisition, hiring and fundraising. In order to continue support for Georgia’s startups during COVID-19, Google for Startups transformed the first day of programming into three 90-minute digital sessions throughout April, the first of which was held today.

“Google for Startups’ commitment to underrepresented founders is more important now than ever before, as entrepreneurs work to overcome the economic and operational impacts of COVID-19 to serve their teams and customers,” explained Atlanta-based Jewel Burks Solomon, Head of Google for Startups in the United States. “We believe the tools, resources and strategies shared at the Founders Academy will be tremendously valuable to them as they navigate this evolving situation.”

For applications, Google for Startups worked with long-time Georgia based partners like the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Collab Studio and Bunker Labs to tap into the local community. Over 200 startups applied, and 47 were selected. Because Google for Startups is focused on building a diverse startup ecosystem, 90% of the participating companies are Black or LatinX led and nearly half were founded by women.

“It’s an uncertain time to be operating a startup, but some of the tools that Google for Startups shared today will help me build a better sales strategy to weather the current business landscape” noted Christian Zimmerman, founder of Qoins, a startup combining financial education and automation to help people improve their finances. “I’m thankful to Google for Startups for bringing the Atlanta entrepreneurial community together, and sharing some of their invaluable expertise with us.”

The Atlanta Founders Academy will continue to operate over the next eight months, with future programs tentatively scheduled for every two months. Google for Startups will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation in Atlanta and assess the best way to host future sessions in accordance with guidance from health and local authorities.

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About Google for Startups: Google for Startups works to level the playing field for startup founders and communities to succeed. We do this by bringing the best of Google’s products, connections, and best practices to startups at our global network of partners, at our seven Google for Startups Campus spaces, and online at Paired with a deep commitment to create diverse startup communities, many of our offerings are designed specifically to provide underrepresented founders with access to resources and opportunities. We support startups everywhere to build something better.