Snap has announced today 523 – its first accelerator designed to support minority-owned content startups and creatives, given their traditional lack of access to resources.
Snap says it will work with participants to create Discover shows as part of its ongoing DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) efforts, as laid out in its most recent Diversity Annual Report. The program is named for Snapchat’s first offices on 523 Ocean Front Walk in Venice, Calif. And 523 differs from an existing accelerator, Yellow, in that it is specifically aimed at minority creators.
Applications are accessible now through Feb. 1 on a dedicated website, and Snap says 20 participants from around the world will be selected by March 1, for a cohort kickoff on April 1. Applications will be adjudicated based on the ability to create content at a regular cadence, existing works off of Snapchat, a personal statement, and more.
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In order to be eligible, companies must have less than 20 full-time employees and 2021 gross revenues less than $5 million. Snap defines minority businesses as those that are 51% owned by people who identify as Black, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, Middle Eastern/North African/Arab, non-binary, LGBTQ+, as well as veterans, women, and those who have a disability.
Over six months, 523 members receive $10,000 per month for concepting and filming a Discover show, as well as corporate mentorship, best practices workshops, inclusion in announcements and public events, and networking opportunities. Sponsors for the program include AT&T, Nissan, Target, State Farm, Unilever, Uber Eats, and McDonalds.
“The voices of underrepresented groups have long helped shape mainstream culture, yet these creative minds often don’t see the equitable benefits from their impact,” 523 program manager Starr Nathan said in a statement. “If you want to make a real change, you have to embed equity in the business.”