Manos Accelerator, a program to support Latinos involved in the startup community, has announced a partnership with Google For Entrepreneurs and will launch its first session for five to six startups in September.
Based in San Jose, Manos Accelerator is meant to increase the number of Latino entrepreneurs and startups. Less than one percent of venture-backed startups were founded by Latinos, according to a report by CB Insights. Through a three-month program, Latino startup teams will collaborate with other startups, develop their business plans, and meet with angel investors, mentors, corporate executives and venture capitalists.
“I’m just trying to create a cog and insert it in this wheel that already exists. If this was something that didn’t have an existing ecosystem, it would be difficult to sustain it over time,” Co-founder and CEO Edward Avila tells me. The wheel, he elaborates, is the startup-laden Silicon Valley.
Avila says Manos Accelerator’s partnership with Google will help get the accelerator off the ground through experienced advising and resources. Google For Entrepreneurs launched in September 2012 and has partnered with global startup initiatives including iHub in Kenya, Le Camping in France and Kstartup in Korea. The program has also paired with several other accelerators for increasing minority representation in the industry, such as Women 2.0 and NewMe Accelerator.
While NewMe Accelerator and similar program DreamIt Access are providing resources and collaboration for minorities, Manos Accelerator is the first program specifically created for Latinos. Avila says Manos Accelerator is part of Google’s initiative to do more in Latin American startups.
With about 30 business submissions so far, Manos Accelerator is a long way from TechStars or Y-Combinator, which the program will be modeled after. However, Avila says the numbers he has seen are encouraging. About 100 people have volunteered to be mentors for the program, and a third of submissions are from international startups.
Applications close on July 31, and the first session begins Sept. 9. You can apply for Manos Accelerator here.