A Tech Entrepreneur Is Working To Increase STEM Participation In His Community

With Inclusive Innovation Incubator, Aaron Saunders hopes to bridge the digital literacy gap.

The United States continues to prosper from advancements in modern technology, with new technological and other STEM jobs being added to the economy every day. While this means great opportunity for some, for others — particularly those in underserved communities and some communities of color — a widening digital literacy gap is hampering them from taking advantage of this growing field. 

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However, with his Inclusive Innovation Incubator, developer Aaron Saunders hopes to change that for those in his Washington, D.C., community.

As reported by news outlet WAMU, Saunders started IN3, as the incubator is affectionately called, in 2016 and was inspired by his experience in the tech world. "Very often I was the only person of color there, and I got to a point in my life where I was like 'Is there something I can do to make a difference?" he said to WAMU. 

The space, located near Howard University, serves as a co-working space that he hopes will help bridge and eventually close the digital literacy gap in the community. The workshop holds things on things such as web development, coding, experience. IN3 also offers mentorships in which people of color interested in the tech space can connect with industry professionals. It's a mission that Saunders is very passionate about, as he told WAMU.

"Technology happens everywhere, and I think there's a level of technical competence that we need to increase within our community so that we can help our folks grow and expand their businesses," he told the outlet.

While he's doing his part to make sure that people of color have access to technology training and industry mentors, Saunders also acknowledges that as companies in the industry become more diverse, they must be much more welcoming to members of marginalized groups who join their ranks and also look to those communities when considering who to hire. 

"It is about a relationship," he told WAMU. "My recommendation to these tech companies is to start to build relationships, because that's what's going to matter right now."

Cover image via luchunyu / Shutterstock.

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