Voya Financial, Inc., announced, the launch of a new grant program to aid small businesses owned by individuals from underrepresented communities. The five recipients, all Black-owned, technology-based businesses, will each be awarded $10,000 to help them grow and thrive.
“This inaugural grant program reflects our mission to make a secure financial future possible for everyone. Several of these startups are women-owned, all are Black-owned, and each one demonstrates a commitment not just to success, but to a shared value with Voya — giving back to the community,” said Braeden Mayrisch, associate vice president, Stakeholder Equity and Impact, and vice president, Voya Foundation. “We invest in Black and African American leaders, be they teachers, STEM professionals, or small businesses and nonprofit executives, and showcase aspirational careers to our nation’s children.”
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The grants are a program developed by the company’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, undertaken in collaboration with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), focused on supporting Black- and African American-owned businesses and positioning Black entrepreneurs as role models for youth.
“AEO and our 2,600 members and partners are excited to support this vital work — helping underserved entrepreneurs contribute to the economic growth of their families and communities,” said Connie E. Evans, president and CEO of AEO. “It is even more impactful that these grants are targeting an underrepresented field like technology.”
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The five grant recipients — each of which offer technology-based products and solutions for different industries and are at various stages in their corporate development — are:
- Imani Software, a technology service based in Pflugerville, Texas, that provides education administrators with early warning and intervention assistance for at-risk youth.
- LiftEd, located in Brooklyn, New York, this education technology service uses data and software tools to support special-education instructors, simplify success monitoring, and enhance lesson plans.
- Nailstry, an augmented reality beauty application based in Davie, Florida.
- Shared Knowledge, an education technology service that designs free smartphone apps to help with data analysis, training, and mental health in school systems, based in Sterling, Virginia.
- Total Analysis, is a Detroit-based technology company that uses a platform to streamline pathogen identification in the healthcare space.
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