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African American History-Maker in Technology: Kathryn Finney

Celebrating Black History Month

Bowling Green, Ky (February 11, 2021) - To honor Black History Month, Connected Nation is paying tribute to some of the most influential African American innovators in technology.

Kathryn Finney is a female tech entrepreneur known as the “Fairy Godmother of Tech Start-ups.” She works to empower not only women, but women of color looking to emerge in the technology space. 

Finney was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was a leader throughout high school and decided to continue her education at Rutgers University. After graduation, she attended Yale University and received her graduate degree in public health. 

Finney’s father taught computer-based tech academics, and she wanted to follow his lead and enter the tech industry on her own. In 2003, she created a fashion blog called “The Budget Fashionista.” The blog quickly gained a large following, which prompted Finney to transform it into a full-blown media company by 2004. 

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But Finney’s most notable venture came in 2012 when she created Digitalundivided, a 501(c) 3 status social enterprise geared to economically empower women of color and help them fund their businesses. Their mission is to use innovation to create system change by catalyzing economic growth for Black and Latinx communities through women entrepreneurs.

Over the next couple years, she grew the venture from a simple idea to a dynamic organization with a seven-figure budget, 20-plus staff, two offices (Newark and Atlanta), and partnerships with major institutions such as Pivotal Ventures, Microsoft for Startups, UBS, Surdna Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. As part of her effort to grow Digitalundivided, in 2016 she released #ProjectDiane,the first research initiative to explore the state of Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs.

Along with the many accomplishments within her organization, Finney has also received the following awards and recognition from external companies: 

  • A White House Champion of Change and a past member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) appointed by the Obama Administration
  • Named one of the most influential women in tech by INC magazine
  • Featured among "America's Top 50 Women in Tech" by Forbes
  • 2016 Echoing Green Fellowship, Marie Claire's “10 Women to Watch in 2016”
  • New York Business Journal's Women of Influence Award

Kathryn Finney is an amazing example of a Black history-maker in technology, especially for women. Her contribution to helping female entrepreneurs of color fund their future will never go unrecognized. 

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