Business Co-Founded by a Columbus Resident to Help Non-Traditional and Marginalized Students Find Resources for Financial Aid, Food, and Other Basic Needs to Receive $ 100,000 in Funding Through Google for Startups Black Founders Fund.
Asha Owens of BestFit Inc. was one of the 50 second cohort recipients of the fund. BestFit began in 2017 as a research project when Owens and his co-founder Rebecca Kwee attended Teachers College at Columbia University.
The startup’s mission is to close the gap in college graduation rates by providing a support system for every student. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the funders and supporters of the company.
“First-generation students, underrepresented minorities and low-income students have lower graduation rates not because they lack the capacity, but because they face systemic barriers. to access the support of an academic network, ”reads the BestFit website.
Of the 2021 cohort, 14 were from Georgia. Owens was the only recipient from outside the Atlanta area.
“We are delighted that Columbus-based BestFit, Inc. has captured Google’s well-deserved attention,” Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said in a press release. “As a member of the latest cohort of the Google For Startups Black Founders Fund, Asha and the BestFit team will be able to expand their support and impact on non-traditional students. As the world continues to evolve, we need original thinkers like Asha at the forefront of policy and protocol development. “
Since 2020, Google has invested $ 10 million in the Black Founders Fund. In addition to funding, the selected companies also receive technical support and advertisements.
The initiative aims to support black founders who build businesses but often lack access to the funding essential to their success.
“It’s such a great opportunity,” Owens said in a 30-second video after learning she had been selected for the show.