Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Inclusion Hub

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One-line solution summary:

An inclusive apprenticeship hub to nurture, empower and equip minority talent with data science and entrepreneurial leadership skills

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Pitch your solution.

Addressing the shortage of “experienced” data scientists and specifically, the underrepresentation of BIPOC and women in data science leadership roles, Inclusion Hub capitalizes on remote learning and collaboration technology and tools to offer an apprenticeship to BIPOC and woman-identified talent to be upskilled by our team of experienced data science experts and business leaders in a targeted training. Our programming began with talent in the US and Nigeria, and we plan to expand globally to any region with talent that can benefit from working on real client projects. In addition to employing and retaining the talent we train, we motivate and promote entrepreneurial leadership, challenging our employees to use their skills in their local communities to solve local problems and supporting them in incubating their own companies to deliver community-driven solutions.

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What specific problem are you solving?

In the growing digital economy there is a shortage of experienced data scientists (https://taxandbusinessonline.villanova.edu/blog/the-talent-gap-in-data-analytics/) while the newly qualified, especially under-resourced Black and woman-identified talent, find it a challenge to find their first job or internship (https://medium.com/@ODSC/heres-why-you-aren-t-getting-a-job-in-data-science-45dbf9064934). Matching them, under an apprenticeship model, to experienced data science consultants and deploying them on client projects will meet the shortage of data scientists and upskill this under-represented population (Black people make up 3% of data scientists and women 15% - https://builtin.com/data-science/black-women-data-science). On the job training of young talent will grow the pipeline of eligible leaders who are minorities. 

Globally, there are local problems that would benefit from local data expertise to find solutions. By creating incubators, Inclusion Hub would train, assess and support entrepreneurial talent to address these local problems and also grow the local economy. 

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What is your solution?

Inclusion Hub creates end-to-end data science consulting opportunities for individuals, often Black and female talent, who have historically had less access to data science education and experiences. We hire recent graduate and undergraduate interns who are under-represented in the tech/data science industry and train them on data sciences skills (programming, use of data analysis tools and techniques) by providing on the job learning through work on real, client projects. Working on these client projects also offers experience in project and product management and business analysis, entrepreneurial training, and teaches soft skills like presentation skills and US business etiquette. We currently have contacts in Nigeria, West Africa through a partner organization, Data Science Nigeria, and we hope to expand to other regions of the world.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our target population is Black, women-identified, and LGBTQ+ populations. These groups are all currently under-represented in the workforce in data science roles. They study hard to get their qualifications but struggle to secure employment, or are not recruited into positions that match their education. This is due to a multitude of reasons: not having the right network, lack of opportunity in their region, or other socio-economic challenges. Due to advances in technology, connectivity and the recent tolerance of remote working, offshore remote engagement of these populations in real client projects is now possible if they are actively guided and supported by experienced data science consultants. We will deploy the latest collaboration tools to ensure connectivity, leverage our existing trained consultants in Nigeria to facilitate a sense of community, and hone our skills assessment tools. 

People spend significant amounts of their time at work and we believe they must enjoy it in order to grow and flourish.  We want to practice the latest thinking in Human Capital concepts in managing data “geeks,”, like psychological safety, self-managing teams and ways to avoid the usual power games in corporations by defending decisions based on data not hierarchy - all ways to foster a truly inclusive work environment that empowers the individual. 

Local problems are best solved by people close to the situation. We will encourage and support our qualified apprentices who have the desire and ability to contribute to the solution by assisting them in setting up their own companies. This will greatly impact the local community in terms of jobs, careers and reinstating those previously excluded from the new labor market. As our success grows we will be opening Inclusion Hubs in other geographies thereby using our curriculum for the broadest impact.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Provide tools and opportunities for equitable access to jobs, credit, and generational wealth creation in communities of color.
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Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

The challenge is three fold: shortage of data scientists, the underrepresentation of minorities and the lack of data expertise in developing countries. Apprenticeship model providing on the job training with real client problems, initially in the US, will train minorities in the US and Nigeria (to begin). We will provide a work environment that is inclusive, empowering and nurturing of young talent that will be positioned to be data leaders or entrepreneurs with assistance to start their own company. Once proven in Nigeria, Inclusion Hub will open in other under-served geographies where there is education and infrastructure to support. 

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Norwalk, CT, USA
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model.
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Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.

SeqHub, the parent of Inclusion Hub, has a successful track record in delivering projects for small to medium size businesses.  We want to expand our services via the apprenticeship model that serves both our clients and grows and upskills recently qualified data scientists who are under-represented in the field and who often have limited access to such experiences. Our first trial trained 5 college undergraduates in the US and successfully found them their first employment in data science roles at corporations. At a recent Hackathon sponsored by SeqHub, we identified and trained the current leader of Inclusion Hub in Nigeria. We are currently testing our model in Nigeria with 6 (3 graduates and 3 undergraduates) who are part of the Data Science Nigeria network. We consider these successful pilots and want to further test with a larger cohort.

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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Taiwo A. Togun is the founder and CEO

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful
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What makes your solution innovative?

Our innovation is an apprenticeship model to give a solid foundation in both technical and soft skills to empower BIPOC and woman-identified data science leaders of tomorrow by ensuring our clients pay near market rates for consulting services; we re-invest a significant portion of our profits in superior training and talent development.

We aim to retain the talent via a company culture that is based on DEI best practices and encourage apprentices to become entrepreneurs while assisting them via Inclusion Hub-supported incubators to solve local challenges.

We provide a path for minorities to become leaders in data science thereby increasing much-needed representation in data science. 

Increasing representation in tech has a profound impact beyond generations as moreBIPOC and woman-identified rise into leadership positions and lead their own companies or manage Inclusion Hubs around the world. 

By upskilling talent in under-represented communities will enable them to solve their own local problems through data science solutions. 

Innovations in leadership and how to manage highly technical resources: assessment tools, organizational design, employee engagement. 

  • Using Blade Kotelly Inc., innovation dashboard, a proven tool to quantify innovation skills and culture in organizations, we can assess the readiness of apprentices

  • An organizational design along the lines of Frederic Laloux to promote self-managing teams

  • Methods of gamification that provide transparency to what makes a good decision and what is a success (Annie Duke)

  • Our in-house research and development projects, for example, can Agent Kathy a conversational ai, be adapted to measure the success of our aspirational culture

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Big Data
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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • LGBTQ+
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequality
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In which states / US territories do you currently operate?

  • Connecticut
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Our apprenticeship and internship program currently serves 8 students including 7 apprentice that is now a full time employee at SeqHub, 3 college graduates and 3 college undergraduates.  Our goal  is to apprentice 20 within a year, and in 5 years we plan to successfully train 300 minority apprentices.

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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

List of Indicators:

  • Number of committed paying clients
  • Number of projects
  • Consulting income
  • Number of apprentices
  • Number of hubs and incubators
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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

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How many people work on your solution team?

Full-time - 4 (Taiwo, Gillian, Venkat, Victor)

Part-time - 2 (Allan, Bryan Love, Teju Enunwa)

Contractors - 2 (Matthew, Daryl)

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How long have you been working on your solution?

2

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Taiwo is an educator and a social entrepreneur who has created and led successful academic and apprenticeship programs targeted at high school and college students and graduates. With an Executive Masters in Technology Leadership and a PhD. in Computational Biology & Bioinformatics, Taiwo leads SeqHub, an interdisciplinary data science consulting team.

Gillian is a seasoned executive with big 5 Consulting experience at the partner level. She combines this experience with technical expertise, having a Physics background, and heading innovation for a large Swiss Bank and recently the Chief Data Officer for an Emotional Data Analytics company.

Bryan Love is an Organizational Development Consultant in South Africa working with executive leadership in a multicultural environment

Venkat Lakshminarayanan is an expert data scientist with behavioral psychology and economics background.

Victor was our first apprentice and is now a practicing data scientist who is now our team leader in Nigeria

Daryl Reeves is an experienced data scientist with a demonstrated history of working in multiple industries including Biotech and Advertising. He is an Industry Assistant Professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

Adeteju Enunwa is a practicing cloud consultant and product manager.

Allan brings 20+ years of experience in education solutions management with technical expertise including Data Engineering, Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, and cloud architectures for Web applications and Data Science solutions.

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What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?

Diversity is the driving force behind our team and at the heart of our commitment to success. 

First and foremost, our leadership team is intentionally a diverse group of individuals with competent technical skills, able to draw from their own experiences, united by the desire to contribute to the necessary change in the workforce that will be inclusive. Further, that talent is found in  communities that have not historically had access to data science/tech spaces; all that the talent requires is training, mentoring, and opportunities

The salary structure of our company will reflect equitable best practice, and with the partners reinvesting the majority of the profits back into the company to fund its mission

Psychological safety and self-management are core to our HR practices which encourages inclusivity, both in contribution and decision making

Goals

80% of our leadership will always be an under-represented minority; black, women or LGBTQ

100% of our apprentices will always come from underserved or underrepresented communities

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Your Business Model & Partnerships

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Organizations (B2B)
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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

To be exposed to a network of advisors and resources to help realize our mission of to increase representation of minority (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and woman-identified) talent in Data Science leadership roles.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Product / Service Distribution (e.g. expanding client base)
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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

MIT faculty and pertinent initiatives and other Solve Members

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The ASA Prize for Equitable Education? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The ASA Prize to advance your solution?

We believe our solution is filling an important gap for minority groups, one which universities don't do well, and is of more adverse consequences to minorities.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Elevate Prize for Antiracist Technology? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Elevate Prize for Antiracist Technology to advance your solution?

We believe our solution is filling an important gap for minority groups, one which universities don't do well, and is of more adverse consequences to minorities.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The GM Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The GM Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion to advance your solution?

We believe our solution is filling an important gap for minority groups, one which universities don't do well, and is of more adverse consequences to minorities in tech.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity to advance your solution?

We believe our solution is filling an important gap for minority groups, one which universities don't do well, and is of more adverse consequences to minorities in tech.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The AI for Humanity Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Solution Team

  • Taiwo Togun Founder/CEO, SeqHub Analytics, LLC
 
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