Did you know that Squire Technologies, a startup launched in 2015 by two Black founders, has brought machine learning and other technological and operational advances to the centuries-old, multi-billion-dollar barber industry? Squire’s valuation is approaching $1 billion, or “Unicorn” status. Did you know that Howard University launched a Master’s in Data Science and Analytics program in spring of 2021, and in 2022, it’s marking the fourth-year anniversary of its Howard Entertainment Program? Founded in 1867, Howard is one of more than 100 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States.
Both Squire and Howard University build on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Squire built its platform that combines appointment booking, payroll, and point-of-sale systems—which barbers and owners previously pieced together themselves—using AWS technology. Squire simplifies shop operations, so barbers can focus on their customers. Howard created its Master’s program in collaboration with AWS. It also runs its Howard Entertainment program with Amazon Studios. Both programs are helping create a pipeline of highly skilled African-American candidates to diversify the tech and entertainment industries.
“The vision of Howard Entertainment is to offer a one-of-a-kind experience for students interested in all aspects of entertainment, from project greenlighting, to PR and marketing, to entertainment law and finance,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “This relationship aligns with Howard’s strategic goals of enhancing academic excellence and inspiring new knowledge. Collaborating with Amazon Studios enables us to marry academia and industry efforts to build a robust workforce of diverse entertainment industry leaders.”
Past participants of the Howard Entertainment cohorts have gone on to secure roles at companies such as Gravillis, United Talent Agency (UTA), and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
“AWS is committed to inclusion, diversity, and equity in our workforce and in our world,” said Amy Horn, head of diversity marketing at AWS. “Many of our customers are using AWS to power their DEI initiatives and build more inclusive products and services. We hope more companies will be inspired by, and learn from, these awesome examples.”