From INSIDE BUSINESS By
757 Collab in Norfolk hired Eastern Shore native Travis Young as director of diversity, equity and inclusion and strategic partnerships to help Hampton Roads build a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.
757 Collab, located in the Assembly campus in downtown Norfolk, coordinates the efforts and resources of the 757 Angels investor group, the 757 Accelerate business-growing program and 757 Startup Studios workspace. The organization had partnered with entrepreneurial leader Techstars to assess the region’s ecosystem. While highlighting many regional strengths, the report also noted an inclusion gap in that the demographics of local tech entrepreneurs don’t represent the community at large — a problem not unique to Hampton Roads.
That’s where Young, who grew up in Cape Charles, is going to get to work by building relationships that can lead to critical partnerships, and, ultimately, help more entrepreneurs build their businesses, said Monique Adams, 757 Collab managing director.
Young brings experience through inclusion efforts with the New York City Department of Education and The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. He launched a nonprofit called Nationhood that uses research on legislation, policy, and other initiatives to create social impact campaigns that amplify causes to a broader audience. He’s founded a number of projects that build collectives around social justice topics.
Young shared more about his experience and next steps in answers to Inside Business questions.
What do you hope to accomplish with 757 Collab and in the region?
My goal is to listen first. Although I was born and raised here, I haven’t lived here full-time in almost 15 years. Even though a lot has changed, a lot remains the same. I want to ensure that I’ve done my due diligence to ensure that I’m interfacing with all of the right stakeholders who have been doing the work of expanding the ecosystems before I create programs that no one wants.