Product development can be arduous and expensive. Even more so for women and people of color who often struggle to find funding for their ideas. The Milky Way Tech Hub — which is a Jet Constellations initiative — and Marquette University’s Computer Science Department have joined forces to help address the problem by providing free product development services to startups from Milky Way Tech Hub’s concierge accelerator.

The program will focus on social impact-oriented startups led by BIPOC and women in a symbiotic relationship between Marquette’s senior design students and the founders. The computer science seniors will help the startups develop their products at no cost while the startups will provide the students with practical experience working in a startup environment. Selected founders will also have the chance to vie for a $15,000 prize at  Milky Way Tech Hub Annual Pitch Competition in November 2020.

“There is a critical need for more programming around product development in the city of Milwaukee. There are huge racial disparities in the VC world that continue to make it difficult for Black founders and other underrepresented demographics to raise funds to develop even a minimum viable product(MVP). Many times, our journey of product development begins with little to no help. Programs like the one we’ve established with Marquette are absolutely essential as we work toward making Milwaukee a Tech Hub that centers marginalized communities. ” says Jet Constellations and Milky Way Tech Hub founder, Nadiyah Johnson in the press release.

“Marquette seeks to produce graduates who are not merely savvy programmers, but who will use their powers for the good of the community and for the world.  This kind of substantive engagement with our local tech ecosystem provides an ideal educational opportunity for our students at a critical stage of their professional development, while also giving a much-needed boost to budding entrepreneurs in our city,” adds Dr. Dennis Brylow, Vice-Chair of Marquette Computer Science.

Interested startups can apply for the program here.