Bitwise Industries seeks to reenergize the technology sector and create a more diverse and equitable workforce
By its own account, Bitwise Industries’ mission is “to create onramps into the technology industry for marginalized individuals and to be an economic driver that could remake a city.” The city in question is Fresno, California, where Bitwise was founded in 2013. But its impact has been considerably broader.
“We figured out that the way to reboot the American economy and make the technology industry diverse and inclusive was to simply do it—not to make hollow promises, or put black and brown faces in Diversity & Inclusion commitment ads,” says CEO and co-founder Irma Olguin Jr. “Rather, the way to true representation is to connect underestimated people to tech skills and pay them to learn. These people earn tech jobs and help their employers grow; they transform their own lives and the economy of their hometowns.”
Which is what Bitwise has done over the last eight years through a diversified menu of services and products, including workforce training and skills development, technology consulting, office leasing, custom software solutions and small business incubation. Earlier this year, Bitwise raised $50 million in Series B financing to support a Digital New Deal aimed at bringing public and private entities to together to create a more equitable and inclusive workforce and remove the barriers to high-wage, high-growth jobs. At Carpenter Group we note that few companies have done so much good in so many ways on so many fronts.
The company’s Geekwise Academy, for example, provides an accelerated six-week training program in technology skills and job placement services geared to students from diverse backgrounds. Some 5,000 Geekwise graduates have gone on to join Bitwise’s custom software company or start of their own.
Another Bitwise venture, the OnwardCA network connects people impacted by COVID-19 to services, funds, training and other necessities and has been adopted in 11 other states. A related effort, the Take Care software program, has facilitated the distribution of meals to tens of thousands of recipients throughout California.
And the Ignite Innovation Lab, a technology business incubator, offers entrepreneurs a six-month-long cohort experience focused on creating new businesses and jobs locally.
Perhaps most exciting, Bitwise Portfolio has invested in a variety of technology start-ups serving credit unions, real estate brokerages, tattoo artists and restaurants. “These are companies built by extraordinary and often underestimated people,” says CEO Olguin. “Each one is a success story of hard work, determination and dedication to their craft. We’re honored to partner with these amazing people and their products throughout their professional journeys.” Beyond simply living its brand values, Bitwise is modeling and instilling them in others.
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About Brand Acts of Kindness®
Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.
The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.
About Carpenter Group
Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.
Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.