Join WE NYC As The Discuss New Ways To Access Tech Grants For Women Entrepreneurs Of Color

April 13, 2021

Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC) asked readers to join their WE NYCBE NYC, and their partner GameChange to learn about powerful but elusive SBIR grants for women entrepreneurs working on research, tech, and tech-driven projects.

Their partner event with GameChange will offer an inside look at National Science Foundation SBIR grants that are critical to many women in the research/tech sector who are seeking early funding and are often challenged to secure financial support from family & friends and/or pre-seed investors.

The number of SBIR grants awarded to entrepreneurs of color has held steady at only 8% each year for the last several years.

Women entrepreneurs of color make up an even smaller portion of this number. We all have the opportunity to change this now!

This event will consist of:

  • An inspiring roundtable on how to better support female tech founders of color with representatives from the Chair of the House Committee on Small Business, the Chair of the House Committee on Science & Technology, a representative from the National Science Foundation SBIR grant committee, and much more!
  • Discover how access to these grants is being re-imagined and how it can help you reach your funding goals.

What are the SBIR grants?

The SBIR and STTR programs fund a diverse portfolio of startups and small businesses across technology areas and markets to stimulate technological innovation, meet research and development (R&D) needs, and increase commercialization to transition R&D into impact.

Women entrepreneurs of color consistently face challenges in accessing these funds, so this event will provide vital insights into how we can increase access to this important funding source for women entrepreneurs of color in the tech/R&D sectors.

Topics of discussion will include:

  • What are SBIR grants
  • Grant criteria
  • Analysis of common mistakes that lead to rejection
  • Best practices to apply
  • Discussion on how to establish path forward to increase WOC access

Our speakers will include:

Speaker Bios

Dr. Tilbury, Directorate for Engineering, National Science Foundation. Dr. Tilbury leads NSF’s Directorate for Engineering in its mission to support engineering research and education critical to the nation’s future and foster innovations to benefit society. The Engineering Directorate provides about 40 percent of the federal funding for fundamental research in engineering at academic institutions, and distributes about 1,600 research awards each year. The Engineering Directorate also helps to advance NSF’s Ten Big Ideas, including the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier, the Quantum Leap, and NSF INCLUDES. A professor at the University of Michigan since 1995, in both mechanical and electrical engineering, Dr. Tilbury has a background in systems and control engineering. She is the inaugural chair of the Robotics Steering Committee and served as an associate dean for research in the College of Engineering. Dr. Tilbury retains her position with the University of Michigan, and shall return after her term with NSF expires.

Delia Barr, Majority Clerk, House Small Business Committee. Delia Barr is a six-year veteran of the House Small Business Committee. As the majority Clerk for the 114th and 115th Congress, she orchestrated over 150 hearings and 10 markups. In the 116th Congress she became Professional Staff with a portfolio that included trade, workforce, rural/agricultural business issues, clean energy, infrastructure, entrepreneurial development, and Small Business Administration oversight. In the 117th Congress, she leads the SBIR/STTR reauthorization efforts for Chairwoman Velázquez (NY-07). Ms. Barr holds a M.S. from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. She received her B.A from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey where she played field hockey and softball.

Joseph Parilla, Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution. Joseph Parilla is a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, where he oversees a research and strategy portfolio focused on the trends and policies that influence inclusive economic growth in cities across the U.S. and the world. He authors publications delivers public presentations and provides commentary to media on topics such as economic development, small business trends, and talent development. Most recently, Joseph has delivered real-time analysis and practical guidance on how local and regional leaders can mitigate economic damage from COVID-19 and drive an inclusive recovery. Joseph has led applied research engagements that offer local economic assessments, practical policy and programmatic solutions, and clear goals and metrics to guide government, business, and philanthropic leaders in regions such as Birmingham, Ala., Denver, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, Mich., Sacramento, Calif., and San Diego.

Dahlia Sokolov, Staff Director, Research & Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. In this role, Dahlia advises Committee Members on oversight and legislative issues regarding NSF, NIST, STEM education, and many other Federal S&T programs and policies. Dahlia joined the Committee staff in 2004. She is an honorary fellow of AAAS, recognized for her work in S&T policy. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and a B.S. from UC Berkeley.

Andrei Cimpian, Professor of Psychology, New York University. Professor Cimpian earned a PhD in psychology from Stanford University in 2008 and is now Professor of Psychology at New York University. Among other topics, he has investigated how people think about intellectual ability—what is it? who has it?—and how these beliefs shape gender and race/ethnicity gaps in career outcomes. Dr. Cimpian’s research has been published in top journals such as Science, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and Psychological Science, earning him the 2018 American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology. Media outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, NPR, and The Economist have covered his work.

Jasmine N. Hall Ratliff, Deputy Director, Keecha Harris & Associates, Inc. In this role, Jasmine directs the day-to-day management of the firm along with playing a key role in developing strategy in the firm’s consulting work with organizations dedicated to systems change through a racial equity. Jasmine is also an adjunct professor at the Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice. Prior to her current roles, Ratliff was a program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for 10 years; she started her career in philanthropy with the Missouri Foundation for Health where she directed women’s health and children’s oral health programs. Ratliff earned a master of health administration from the Saint Louis University College for Public Health & Social Justice and a BA from the University of Virginia. Born in Virginia, Jasmine now resides in St. Louis, MO with her husband, young daughter, and cat. In her leisure time, she enjoys time with her family, reading historical fiction, going to the movies and lounging on the beach.

Moderator: Lauren deLisa Coleman, Founder, GameChange. A Digi-cultural trend analyst, author, speaker, and consultant; Lauren deLisa Coleman is an expert at deciphering and forecasting power trends and public sentiment within the intersection of popular culture & emerging tech of AI, VR, and Blockchain and the impact of such on business and governance. She helps brands and politicos create messaging that better resonates with today’s tech-savvy, pop culture millennials consumer by providing innovative communication strategies, forecast & analysis on cultural trends, attitudes, and behavior as it all intersects with emerging tech usage through her company Lnk Agency. She is also a Changemaker having created GameChange during the pandemic. It is an initiative led by Black women for all women of color to expand the TimesUp conversation to focus on the concerns of Innovation Inclusion and Economic Justice via programming and support for women seeking greater leadership positions and entrepreneurial success in the Pop Culture Innovation Economy: the intersection of emerging tech, media, and entertainment – the power hub of all culture today.

About Our Partners

Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC): BE NYC, launched by the NYC Department of Small Business Services in 2019, is a first-of-its-kind model in a major American city to help address the racial wealth gap by empowering Black entrepreneurs. Please visit to sign up for our newsletter and receive information on our free programming, including our BE NYC Mentors mentorship program, Shop Your City: BE NYC program to promote local Black businesses and the BE NYC/MasterCard Digital Doors webinar series on building high-quality online portals and content for your business.

GameChange: GameChange is an edgy, new initiative led by Black women for all women of color that expands the TimesUp conversation to finally include our biggest focus which that of economic justice and innovation inclusion. Since Black women and women of color out-index in everything from media consumption to emerging tech adoption yet do not share nearly enough inequity of the Information Age. We’ve decided need new way is needed, so we’ve created GameChange as an unprecedented movement with hip programming: social events, demos showcases, leadership educations series, advocacy, and relationship-building opportunities across genders and races so that women of color can fully participate in what we call the Pop Culture Innovation economy: the intersection of entertainment, media, and tech -so that we can help control the flow of information, influence and perspective in America and aground the world. We intend to bring awareness to the genius of women of color and seize equity and voice!

Access all the information about the event here.

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