Google to invest $175 million in racial-equality projects

The tech giant will fund and mentor black entrepreneurs and black community projects

Google has committed to investing $175 million (£139m) into projects that support racial equality and black-owned businesses.

The funding was announced by CEO Sundar Pichai alongside a number of commitments that included support for its black employees.

The $175 million will be divided between four projects, the first being a $100 million investment into black-led venture capital firms, startups and other organisations supporting black entrepreneurs.

$50 million will be allocated to grants for small businesses operating within the black community, with $15 million going towards training black job seekers to help them reskill. The company will also use $10 million to help the black community in its developer ecosystem, and access education and equipment. The aim is to boost black representation within developer platforms, such as Android, Chrome and Google Play.

"We know that racial equity is inextricably linked to economic opportunity," Pichai wrote in a blog post. "So today we are announcing a $175 million-plus economic opportunity package to support Black business owners, startup founders, job seekers and developers, in addition to YouTube's $100 million fund to amplify Black creators and artists."

The tech giant is also launching an accelerator for black founders, which will be a three-month program for "high potential" companies. In addition, Google is also expanding its 'Digital Coaches' program to eight new cities, including Memphis, Birmingham and Cleveland, to provide black-owned businesses with mentorship, networking and training.

The announcement comes after weeks of black lives matter protests across the US, and in other cities around the world, following the death of George Floyd. Although Google is investing quite a significant amount into the black community, its own record on diversity isn't particularly strong.

Throughout 2018, the company was plagued by reports of sexual harassment, which led to walkouts and protests. Despite repeatedly announcing support for its female workers, reports continued to surface that suggested Google tried to crush internal dissent and many of those who complained of sexual harassment claimed to have also faced some form of retaliation because of it.

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