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Pioneering Tech Investor Creates First Scholarship for Black Students at Oxford University

Pioneering Tech Investor Creates First Scholarship for Black Students at Oxford University

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Arlan Hamilton, a technology entrepreneur, just created the first scholarship fund specifically for Black undergraduate students at Oxford University, USA Today reports. 

Hamilton, a former music tour manager turned tech investor, has made a name for herself in the technology world through Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm she runs that invests exclusively in women, minority and LGBTQ founders. Her company helps startups to overcome some of the hurdles women and people of color have to face in a predominantly white male industry. With her new scholarship fund, Hamilton hopes to help budding entrepreneurs earlier on in their career. 

The scholarship will help cover fees and living costs for one undergrad student a year for three years. The fund is worth approximately $300,000 and is set to take effect in 2020. Hamilton says her goal is to provide an opportunity for more Black U.K. students to be able to attend the prestigious University. As it stands, Black students only make up 2.6% of Oxford’s population. 

Scholarship honorees must be of African or Caribbean heritage and come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Recipients will be able to work with the Oxford Foundry, an entrepreneurship hub that Hamilton advises and with the esteemed L.E.V8 accelerator program. Each student will also receive a $3900 grant to pursue careers in their chosen field. Hamilton said she decided to start the fund after a trip to Oxford as a guest speaker, where she felt like she didn’t see enough Black students.

Martin Williams, an Oxford professor and pro-vice-chancellor for education spoke on Hamilton’s generosity. “I am delighted that Arlan has chosen Oxford for this generous gift. Finance should not be a barrier to opportunity for education, and I hope that this announcement reminds Black students across the country that there are opportunities for them at the University,” he said. 

The tech impresario hopes to make this the first of many funds she creates at various universities. “I plan on doing this for several schools over the next decade, and starting with Oxford because I’ve spent a great deal of time with their students and faculty, and Dillard because it’s my mom’s alma mater and shaped her,” Hamilton said. 

We look forward to seeing what comes next! Thank you for all the work you’re doing!