LOOKING AHEAD:

Technology sector

RVA continues to attract tomorrow's leaders, working hard to position RVA as a hub of innovation for the 21st Century. In fact, RVA's "innovation economy," broadly defined as an ecosystem of "entrepreneurs, product developers, researchers, financiers, university and non-profit thought leaders, and corporate leaders," which all build RVA's growing start-up and tech sectors, is driven by an increasingly educated workforce

Yet, in the midst of this awe-striking growth, we ask: "Whom does innovation look like in RVA?"

...We are not sure that this innovation economy is nurturing Richmond's diversity.

 

KEY TRENDS SHAPING RVA'S INNOVATION ECONOMY


Number of New Jobs

Source: Activation Capital

Percentage of Minority, Woman, Veteran Owned Businesses

Source: Activation Capital
 

Merely two years ago, the majority of companies nurtured by RVA's innovation economy were allegedly under minority, veteran, or (not and) woman leadership.  Despite these growth figures, Richmond's income inequality continues to increase, and this trend is further underscores racial divides that have plagued much of RVA's history.

 

Media Household Income by Race (USD thousands), City of Richmond (2012-2016)

Source: American Community Survey. The margin of error for data regarding Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and multi-racial populations was too great to conduct meaningful analysis.
 

Population of City of Richmond by race/ethnicity (%), 2012

Source: American Community Survey, US Census Bureau. Other* includes records of individuals self-reporting as multi-racial, American Indian, Asian, Native Hawaiian, or members of racial/ethnic groups non-listed on surveys led by the US Census Bureau and affiliates.

Population of City of Richmond by Race Ethnicity (%), 2016

Source: American Community Survey, US Census Bureau. Other* includes records of individuals self-reporting as multi-racial, American Indian, Asian, Native Hawaiian, or members of racial/ethnic groups non-listed on surveys led by the US Census Bureau and affiliates.
 
 

poverty in the city by race/ethnicity (%), 2012

Source: American Community Survey, US Census Bureau. Other* includes self-reporting multiracial, American Indian, Native Hawaiian individuals, as well as those identifying as a non-listed racial/ethnic group

Poverty in the City of Richmond by Race/Ethnicity (%), 2016

Source: American Community Survey, US Census Bureau. Other* includes records of individuals self-reporting as multi-racial, American Indian, Asian, Native Hawaiian, or members of racial/ethnic groups non-listed on surveys led by the US Census Bureau and affiliates.

 

Should these trends continue, RVA will miss out on a wealth of opportunity.

Richmond is ready to transcend these divides, and the solutions lie in RVA's African origins.

Looking across the Atlantic to the RV9 Countries where the Greater RVA's first enslaved Africans came, innovation ecosystems are booming. There are at least 43 tech incubators across these nine countries. RVA's innovation economy is uniquely positioned to capture the opportunities afforded by growing West Africa's tech sector. Again, the keys to sustainable growth in RVA lie in Our City's African (her)stories.

the 43 incubators 

  Benin    Sèmè City , Government-led  e-TRILABS , Civil Society-led  Jokkolabs Cotonou , Civil Society-led  Solidar'IT Tech Hub , Civil Society-led

Benin

Sèmè City, Government-led
e-TRILABS, Civil Society-led
Jokkolabs Cotonou, Civil Society-led
Solidar'IT Tech Hub, Civil Society-led

  Liberia    iLab Liberia , Civil Society-led

Liberia

iLab Liberia, Civil Society-led

  The Gambia    Jokkolabs Banjul , Civil Society-led

The Gambia

Jokkolabs Banjul, Civil Society-led

  Senegal    DefkoAkNiepLab , Civil Society-led  HubSocial , Civil Society-led  Jokkolabs Dakar , Civil Society-led  CTIC Dakar , Civil Society-led  Africa Living Lab , Academia-led  Mobile Senegal , Hybrid-led  Jjigu  è  ne Tech Hub , Civil Society-led

Senegal

DefkoAkNiepLab, Civil Society-led
HubSocial, Civil Society-led
Jokkolabs Dakar, Civil Society-led
CTIC Dakar, Civil Society-led
Africa Living Lab, Academia-led
Mobile Senegal, Hybrid-led
Jjiguène Tech Hub, Civil Society-led

  Sierra Leone    Impact Hub Freetown , Civil Society-led

Sierra Leone

Impact Hub Freetown, Civil Society-led