advancing equity in innovation and entrepreneurship

VentureWell is on a mission to cultivate a diverse pipeline of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs driven to solve the world’s biggest challenges and create lasting impact. We have a long history of—and deep commitment to—supporting faculty and innovators at US-based colleges and universities through funding, training, and building a vital I&E community where collaboration is encouraged and ideas and best practices are shared. 

A key focus in our work is expanding the participation of historically underrepresented, underestimated, and underresourced faculty and students in science and technology innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E)—specifically those who identify as Black, Latinx, and Indigenous; women of all backgrounds; and individuals from low-income backgrounds. 

We invite you to explore the resources, tools, and opportunities we have assembled to help you advance equity at your institution and in your program.

advancing equity

advancing equity: navigating new terrain

Our new series of publications, Advancing Equity: Navigating New Terrain, demonstrate ways to apply action areas and strategies that can support innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) faculty and leaders of entrepreneurship centers to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices in their programs. We’ve published the first two resources in the series, and the third will be released later this fall:

Learn more about the series and the upcoming Community Conversations for Advancing Equity here.


charting a path forward: reflections on initial steps toward advancing equity in innovation & entrepreneurship

This publication is a comprehensive reflection on our ongoing journey identifying, articulating, addressing, and assessing the systemic gaps in equity and inclusion across our work. It offers key lessons and recommendations gleaned from our past two years of tests, trials, failures, and successes in striving to advance equity and inclusion within our organization and in the broader innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) ecosystem. Read the publication for strategies on how to launch or strengthen equity efforts in your school or organization.

Read the publication.


strategies for advancing equity in higher education innovation and entrepreneurship

Our report describes six interrelated strategies to help entrepreneurship centers and programs broaden participation among early-stage innovators and entrepreneurs. It presents approaches to foster equity and inclusion in science and S&T I&E across the field of higher education. Read the report for more about the six areas for action as well as suggestions for how to integrate them in your organization or your school.

Download the report

strategies in action

Read these articles for more ideas about how to activate these strategies and to hear stories from the field about how others are implementing these areas for action.

community conversations for advancing equity

Our online series fosters discussion to help faculty and program or center leaders bolster their equity efforts. 

Register for the next community conversation on November 18. The interactive discussion will focus on three personal narratives centered on catalytic events that propelled each author into deeper, more authentic engagement around DEI.

watch: community conversation for advancing equity: validating multiple pathways and creating holistic organizational approaches with:

Onyeka Obiocha, Managing Director of Tsai CITY (Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale) (moderator)
Juan Barraza, Director, Student Innovation, Portland State University Center for Entrepreneurship
Debra Joy Pérez, Senior Philanthropic Advisor and Executive Consultant

watch: community conversation for advancing equity:
authentic outreach & mentorship with:

Dr. Damon Tull, Director, Industry Alliances, University of California, Davis – Graduate School of Management
Dr. Isabelle Monlouis, Associate Director, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, Georgia State University
Samer Yousif, Program Officer, VentureWell

watch: community conversation for advancing equity: creating inclusive spaces and building confidence with:

Monica Dean, Director of the Jill Ker Conway I&E Center, Smith College
Ji Mi Choi, Associate VP of Knowledge Enterprise, Arizona State University
Jade Lockard, Program Manager, HBCU Founders Program, Nex Cubed 

watch: strategies for advancing equity in higher education innovation & entrepreneurship

Our panel discussion for the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) Leadership Summit offers actionable insights to advance equity in innovation and entrepreneurship programs.

increasing patent diversity

We produced content to spotlight ways to increase participation among inventors with patents.

watch: advancing equity in innovation: underrepresentation of diverse innovators in the patent system

In this webinar, we explored what we know about patent gaps, the obstacles to closing them, and the role universities can play in ensuring increased access and engagement for underrepresented groups across the innovation ecosystem. We also present key key elements to support IP strategies within universities from our report

read: what the patent gap tells us about diversity in innovation

This article highlights ways to overcome the barriers to invention faced by underrepresented groups.

In the spirit of collaboration and learning, we welcome your input and feedback on what is working well on your campus and where you are encountering challenges. Please send your questions, comments, and insights to Kristen Golden and Shaheen Mamawala at VentureWell:

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