Apple Spending $100 Million So More People Of Colour Can Enter Technology

Apple is spending $100 million on a new initiative to help expand opportunities for people of colour in technology and entrepreneurship. 

The racial equality initiative was launched in 2020, following the death of George Floyd, which sparked countless Black Lives Matter protests all across the world.

Now, the tech company is putting $100 million into it. ‘It’s about giving people opportunity. I can’t wait to see students that are able to enjoy the innovation hub at the propel centre,’ Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

Cook revealed the news on CBS This Morning, explaining to Gayle King that Apple would be working together with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to open ‘100 or so propel centres… think of it as an innovation hub and we’ll work on things from coding, to machine learning, to creativity, to entertainment arts’.

Entrepreneurship is a major focus of the initiative, with Cook adding: ‘A lot of the things that we do here will be in the curriculum there.’

Apple’s Vice President Lisa Jackson, who spearheads the company’s environment, policy and social initiatives, described the propel centres as ‘a place for all HBCU students and the surrounding community’, with hopes it’ll set people up for recruitment, whether it be by Apple or another firm.

Jackson said: ‘We know that the talent is already there. We know these students are trying to do what every student does — propel themselves to a better future and a better life… this is meant to be a little bit of wind under their sails.’

Cook discussed his ‘firsthand witnessing’ of racism in the 1960s and 70s, saying: ‘When I was five years old, John Lewis was beaten on the Edmund Pettus bridge. When I was eight years old, the riots at Stonewall happened. Both of these changed the course of time and changed the course of my life as well.’

He continued: ‘When you either experience those sort of things or read about those things, and then apply them to what you’re seeing today, there was systemic racism, there is systemic racism, and it’s not gonna go away unless we do something about it.’

The pair looked to Detroit as a ‘fantastic footprint’, with the city having at least 50,000 small businesses owned by people of colour. There, the country’s first-ever app developer academy is being launched, with hopes it will give ‘some extra lift to Black and Brown developers’.

Cook said: ‘We want to provide people a mechanism to learn to code, to learn how to write world class apps… you know, I did it in school. Once you start, you recognise that it’s just another language.’

A $10 million investment has also been pledged to Harlem Capital, a fund dedicated to supporting at least a thousand companies founded by people of colour over the next 20 years.

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