Dec 9, 2021
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Snap reaches out to minority creators with a new accelerator program

Dec 9, 2021

Snapchat's parent company has opened its first content accelerator program, dedicated to small, minority-owned content companies. It offers training for entrepreneurs while also serving to bolster the reputation of Snap.

Snap is launching 523, its first accelerator program dedicated to small, minority-owned content companies and creatives that "traditionally lack access and resources." The social network's parent company will select a maximum of 20 applicants to follow the program over a six-month period. Applications are already open, and the lucky recruits will be notified on March 1, 2022.

Who can apply?

In order to be eligible for the scheme, candidates will still need to meet certain criteria. The main condition is for businesses to be minority-owned: "Minority-owned businesses are those that are 51% owned and operated by individuals who identify as any of the following: Black (includes African American, a person of African descent), Hispanic/Latino/Latinx (identify as Hispanic or Latino with ties in Latin America, and can be of any race), Asian, Indigenous (Aboriginal Australian, Alaska Native, First Nations, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander), Middle Eastern / North African / Arab, non-binary, LGBTQ+, Veteran, Disability, Women," explains Snap on the 523 program webpage.

This program, open to applicants worldwide, will run from April to September 2022. The selected candidates will have to produce "shows," i.e., videos lasting between three and five minutes, and publish them regularly, either daily or weekly. This content will have to be suitable for watching on smartphones and tailored to suit Snapchat audiences.

To be selected, candidates will have to prove that their revenue does not exceed $5 million over the last 12 months or in 2021 and that they do not have more than 20 employees.

Five fields

The program covers five fields: funding and resources, mentorship, partner education, exposure and marketing, and community engagement. To attract applicants, Snap has announced that it will pay successful candidates $10,000 per month to support the investment in designing and shooting content for Discover, Snapchat's select content platform.

The mentorship will offer participants the opportunity to liaise with the Snap Content and Media Partnerships team to develop a strategy to increase their engagement on the platform and business goals.

Partner education will provide access to workshops with Snapchat experts on topics such as creative strategy and monetization. Participants will be able to get involved in announcements and public events relating to the 523 program, and to connect with sponsors such as AT&T, Nissan, Target, State Farm, Unilever, Uber Eats and McDonald's. Finally, Snap is committed to connecting applicants with other companies to strengthen their networks.

In 2020, more than half of Snap Originals featured lead characters or hosts who are BIPOC or LGBTQ+ talent, the company explains, along with plans to meet or exceed that goal in 2021. "The voices of underrepresented groups have long helped shape mainstream culture, yet these creative minds often don't see the equitable benefits from their impact," said Starr Nathan, 523 program manager at Snap Inc. "If you want to make a real change, you have to embed equity in the business. That's why we are designing tailored workshops, providing funding and helping participants build sustainable businesses."

Programs to offer financial aid or marketing advice for minority creators are multiplying on social networks. If "Black Lives Matter," LGBTQ+ and feminist causes were certainly on the agenda for social media platforms between 2020 and 2021, a study recently found that black influencers are still paid less than white influencers. Proof that there's still a long way to go.

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