Tech & Innovation June 30, 2022 at 12:30 pm

After finding the courage to leave her safe job, she is now a tech founder turning HBCU students into tech investors

Abu Mubarik June 30, 2022 at 12:30 pm

June 30, 2022 at 12:30 pm | Tech & Innovation

Hadiyah Mujhid. Photo: LinkedIn

For so many years, lack of venture funding has been identified as one of the key issues affecting the growth of Black businesses and rendering them noncompetitive. Venture capitalists usually shy away from backing Black founders and other minorities.

For instance, one research reveals that only 1% of VC-backed companies have Black founders, and only 2% of firms have investment team members who identify as Black. These and many other challenges confronting Black founders inspired Hadiyah Mujhid to found HBCUvc, a not-for-profit organization.

Through her HBCUcv, Mujhid has been helping students from historically Black colleges and universities enter the world of tech. Through strategic partnerships and programs, she is building the next generation of venture capital leaders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, according to Forbes.

“I like to think that our program is extremely comprehensive, and it’s culturally affirming of the identities that people bring to the space,” Mujhid told Forbes.

Recently, she created the HBCUvc Donor Circle as an opportunity for supporters and individuals to “engage in our work and join a long-term strategy toward racial equity in venture capital and technology,” she noted.

Since 2017, HBCUvc’s programs, from fellowships to micro-grants, have been very helpful to Black and Hispanic students, according to TechCrunch. Mujhid’s organization held a city-based internship program with Los Angeles, connecting students to venture capital firms in the area in 2020.

In 2019, she and her team also started a program called the Lab Fund. “It was our opportunity to allow the students that we were training to get hands-on experience identifying entrepreneurs to support with capital,” she told Forbes.

Mujhid, who grew up in Philadelphia, said her grandmother, uncles and aunts influenced her to study. Growing up, she was good at science and math. She wanted to become a doctor but she was not able to get admission to a medical college so she pursued a degree in engineering. She got her first job at Lockheed Martin, which brought her from the East Coast to Silicon Valley, she told the Kamla Show.

Mujhid left behind her safe job at Lockheed after a few years to become an entrepreneur. On her LinkedIn account, Mujhud describes herself as a strong advocate for leveraging technology and entrepreneurship to address economic inequality. In her many years of software engineering experience, she developed flight system software for satellites and communication tools for naval ships. 

“[Mujhid] has shared her expertise with others through mentorship and teaching (Hackbright Academy, Delaware State University Android Boot Camp). She has written and spoken at conferences on equitable innovation, venture capital, and technology entrepreneurship,” she wrote.

Mujhid received her MBA from Drexel University and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, an HBCU.

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