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Diversity in Innovation

CoMotion's commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism principles play critical roles in generating inclusive innovations. CoMotion believes that each person matters and can make a positive difference in the world with their unique ideas and perspectives to improve society. We strive to increase opportunities and dismantle barriers to participation in innovation and entrepreneurship. We do this by seeking feedback, evolving our programs and services to better serve people from all walks of life, adapting how we collaborate, and measuring our impact for continuous evaluation and improvement.

While our work in advancing equity in entrepreneurship will never be done, we are excited about our progress and the difference we are making in our community. See our programs and recent features below as they relate to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


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NSF I-Corps Customer Discovery

Focusing on accessibility and inclusivity, the I-Corps program aims to accelerate academic research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization. More than half of the 300 team members trained each year are people of color, over a third are women, and a quarter are first generation students.

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Researchers and Academic Innovators Success in Entrepreneurship (RAISE) seeks to address and eliminate existing disparities some people experience in accessing entrepreneurial resources. By combining mentorship, education, and community, with coaching support in a cohort-based approach, RAISE focuses on cultivating entrepreneurial mindsets and accelerating academic innovations into sustainable ventures. The program strives to ensure students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members have the greatest chance of entrepreneurial success.

Summer Associate Venture Capital Program

Through the Summer Associate Venture Capital Program, CoMotion is working to create more equitable environments in the VC and startup communities. Addressing the persistently low numbers of Black and women founders and their poor representation in venture capital firms, the Summer Associate program creates opportunities for participation for those who have been historically underrepresented. Successful candidates are matched with VC firms or startups for 10-week summer internships.

Brotherhood Initiative

The Brotherhood Initiative (BI) at the University of Washington exists to engage and enrich the experiences of undergraduate men of color. Founded by College of Education professor Joe Lott in 2016, the program provides a cohort-based learning community, mentorship, seminars, and—in collaboration with CoMotion Labs—an opportunity to develop social-impact projects through the tech incubator at Startup Hall. Read our interview with founding director Joe Lott to learn more about the partnership.

Celebrating UW Innovation Ecosystem Diversity

Celebrating Asian/Pacific American Innovators

May 2022

In celebration of National Asian American, Native Hawai’ian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, CoMotion recognizes these UW researchers making significant impact in their fields. They are advancing innovations in biomedical data analysis, biological and medical applications, imaging technology, wearables and human-machine interaction, air quality monitoring, and smart mobility solutions. Researchers received funding and/or training from a number of CoMotion programs including I-CorpsIdea to PlanPostdoctoral Entrepreneurship Program and Innovation Gap Fund. In addition, some will be pitching at DubPitch today, a biannual event bringing UW startups and early-stage innovators together with investors and venture capitalists.

Celebrating Women Innovators

March 2022

In celebration of Women’s History Month, CoMotion recognizes these UW researchers advancing important innovations in patient care, surgical procedures, health policy, TB treatment, and foster care. They all recently received CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund awards, which help bridge the gap between the conclusion of academic research grants and the level of development where their innovations can attract seed-stage private investment.

Celebrating Black Innovators

February 2022

In celebration of Black History Month, CoMotion is proud to recognize Drs. Carothers, Ray, and Olanrewaju who were recently awarded CoMotion Innovation Gap Funds, They were also honored in Cell Mentor’s list of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists, published in December 2020.

Resources for all innovators

CoMotion Startup Handbook

The CoMotion Startup Handbook is a valuable resource to support UW researchers and entrepreneurs on their startup journey. The booklet clearly explains the key steps that go into creating a successful startup and how CoMotion will support you along the way. In addition to sharing practical information, it will also help inspire and empower your journey ahead.

Innovator’s Journey

CoMotion’s interconnected programs and resources are designed to support researchers and entrepreneurs throughout their innovation journey. Whether licensing to industry, spinning out a startup, or licensing direct to the user, UW researchers can tap into CoMotion’s many resources, programs, and services to support them along the way.