Claris announces low code accelerator to boost diversity, address tech worker shortage

The Apple subsidiary is working with a Black-led venture fund and startup studio on the program.

Low-code leader Claris announced a new initiative designed to increase diversity in technology and business ownership.

The Low Code Accelerator program -- created in partnership with Black-led venture fund and startup studio EonXI -- will use Claris' low-code development platform to provide students with "the operational expertise and mentorship to form and scale a business as well as technical training on the Claris low-code development platform."

"Narrowing the racial wealth gap starts with access to technology and resources, hence why we are building communities of diverse developers and diverse entrepreneurs," said Aaron Wilson, General Partner at EonXI.

Participants will receive technical and business mentorship from experienced Claris developers and experts like Cathy House, a 15-year entrepreneurship Adjunct Professor in the Executive MBA program at Howard University.

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"Every day, I work with brilliant Black entrepreneurs who have industry-changing ideas but no technical training to bring those ideas to life through software," House said. 

"While we must invest in closing the educational gaps that led us to this point, I see tremendous opportunity in low-code software development to empower these entrepreneurs today. The team at EonXI is world-class not only in the companies they help build but in the partnerships they forge that help them accomplish their mission. Working with an organization that has the pedigree and history of Claris to lift up Black entrepreneurs is a tremendous win, and I'm proud to be a part of this program."

Brandon Love, EMEA sales manager at Claris, told ZDNet that there is an urgent need to increase diversity in the tech industry because of the damage done to Black businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

40% of businesses that closed in 2020 were Black-owned, and a recent study from McKinsey shows that 42% of Black workers currently hold jobs that could be subject to automation by 2030.

"The reality is Black entrepreneurs typically don't have access to the same resources as traditionally represented entrepreneurs. Low-code software allows people -- those who don't have a computer science degree or know traditional coding -- to create powerful, custom business solutions that bring value to organizations," Love said.

"There is a big need to narrow the racial wealth gap, and that starts with access to technology, mentorship, and other valuable resources. EonXI is helping build communities of diverse developers, and Claris provides resources and opportunities for the selected entrepreneurs."The program is now accepting applications, and the deadline is October 15.  

Love noted that the low-code market generally exists because of the world's massive gap in IT talent and software needs. That talent gap is, in part, addressed by providing more people with the ability to create software without needing a computer science degree or traditional coding background.

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"Closing that gap requires that we empower people from every community to create digital solutions and build businesses through low-code development, Love added. "This partnership with EonXI affirms a deep commitment on the part of both companies to not just talk about or study these problems, but to give Black entrepreneurs what they need to be successful, both as business owners and software developers."

Low code applications have seen broad interest among corporations as a way to address the severe shortage of tech talent, which currently stands at 50,000 open positions.

Claris CEO Brad Freitag said there is a need to invest and increase diversity in tech broadly and in Black entrepreneurs specifically, considering the statistics.

Recent Pew Research studies found that Black workers comprise 11% of all employed adults, but just 5% of engineers and architects, and 7% of workers in computer occupations. 

"The massive growth and tremendous power of low-code technologies represent some of the most significant opportunities to close this gap that we've seen in generations," Freitag said. 

"This partnership with EonXI affirms a deep commitment on the part of both companies to not just talk about or study these problems, but to give Black entrepreneurs what they need to be successful, both as business owners and software developers."