First national conference promotes inclusion of Latinos and African Americans in biomedical industry

LatinaLista — The biomedical industry is one of the most important industries in the nation. It’s a field tasked with what is a national priority for any country — keeping people healthy. In a nutshell, the biomedical industry develops products for the prevention, treatment, and cure of human diseases.

A mix of science fiction, detective work, exploration, invention and innovation, the biomedical field should be a natural draw for generations who grew up on Star Trek reruns. Yet, Latinos, African Americans, Asians and other people of color represent less than five percent of the biomedical workforce — and an even smaller number are involved in creating new businesses in the industry.

It shouldn’t be the case especially when the industry is projected to have positive job growth over the next ten years fueled in areas (chronic and acute diseases) that only the biomedical industry can tackle.

Yet, in every industry where diversity is at a minimum, it’s not always easy for people of color to find and receive the kind of help they need that will help them reach the next level in their careers.

It’s one of the reasons why the first national Minority Biomedical Entrepreneurship Conference (MBEC) was created. To be held over two days on May 21-22 in Cleveland, Ohio, the conference is hosted by The America21 Project and BioEnterprise.

Attendees will be offered mentoring opportunities with industry leaders and investors, entrepreneurship education, and practical advice on starting and growing a biomedical company. Entrepreneurs looking for funding are afforded the opportunity to present before a group of seasoned biomedical investors.

Conference organizers hope to attract everyone who is interested in the biomedical field from students and investors to media professionals who cover the industry to those who want to be a part of the national minority biomedical innovation ecosystem at what is planned to be an annual event.

“The underrepresentation of African Americans and Latinos in the biomedical industry undermines national economic competitiveness,” said Johnathan Holifield, a co-founder of The America21 Project and co-chair of MBEC. “MBEC confronts the problem by bringing minority entrepreneurs together with industry veterans and investors for mentoring, networking and education.”

(Editor’s note disclaimer: I sit on the Steering Committee of the MBEC)

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