Lifting the Veil Off A New Movement!
There’s a nonprofit in Seattle that has been quietly hard at work for five years empowering people of African descent in technology and entrepreneurship. Always leading with a bold hashtag (#getonPACE), this new nonprofit feels more like a tech startup than a legacy charity. Although PACE operates more like a Silicon Valley startup, it is not looking to sell products or services. Even better, they are working to improve the quality of life and aid in the economic development of traditionally resource-poor communities in Seattle (where they are headquartered) and globally through a strategic growth plan.
The Pan-African Center for Empowerment (P.A.C.E.) is changing the way we engage with undervalued communities. Founded in 2015 by Arif Gürsel, a technology strategist who converted from a successful serial to a social entrepreneur. PACE uniquely focuses on empowering communities of African descent through science, technology, entrepreneurship, arts, and media (S.T.E.A.M.) “hacktivism”. The team at PACE use their backgrounds in engineering combined with MBAs from some of the world’s elite schools to use the same frameworks that drive success in business in community development. To best understand the approach, the founder provides some insights:
“It became obvious to me that we could use the same frameworks and processes that created the disparities in our communities to empower them. Once you understand that “Systematic Oppression” is a system, then everything becomes clear. Therefore, we are trained engineers and business people using our skills and money to “hack” the system in a manner that benefits our community instead of harming them. A movement we call “conscious capitalism”. – Arif Gursel, Founder and CEO of PACE.
Since inception, PACE has:
- Developed media platforms to rebrand (#blackrebrand) the image of Black people globally.
- Developed technology training programs that have changed the economic viability of our communities
- Funded and mentored entrepreneurs of African descent who have received future rounds of funding
- Funded and mentored entrepreneurs who have successfully exited companies
- Retrained corporation leadership to understand biases in the workplace
- Opened the state first “black” owned and operated co-working space and training facility
- Created art to spark a global conversation around racial equity and genocide through language
- Secured the TechHire grant from President Obama’s administration to expand workforce development programs for minority communities
We are now expanding our programs to cover the basic needs of our communities that often go unmet; namely food, clothes, and shelter. PACE once operated as an umbrella organization for our portfolio of brands (Koya Academy, The Union, Tribe Called TECH, Solo Magic, and Talented Xth Labs), but is now expanding its mission to focus on health and wellness as our foundation to power future growth through our various science, technology, entrepreneurship, arts, and media programs & initiatives.
To learn more about PACE and becoming a member or ally visit our website: www.getonpace.org