In part due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the dawn of a decade like no other, for many, it must feel like we as a society have effectively "entered the Matrix;" no doubt timely as the film’s fourth rendition is set to release in the weeks to come.

Due to the widespread adoption of virtualization services, including telehealth, online education, currency exchange and even in the arena of modern athletics, Web 3.0-driven technological innovation and interoperability has enabled myriad industries to be created and recreated anew, invigorating the world’s pursuit of science, technologies, engineering, art and mathematic (STEAM) oriented careers for its future workforce.

However, that future has yet to be democratized; all points indicate a lack of minority representation in the collective arena of technology, hindering a leveling of the playing field that would ensure safe and equitable access for all in this brave new world.

Recent findings from the Advanced 2021-22 Trends Report are proof positive, suggesting that nearly three-quarters (74%) of employees across the United States believe that the main focus of their organization is on business growth and development, and not Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Ninety-two percent of those aged 18-24 report that their business is not doing enough to promote DEI.

In short, we need to change the conversation regarding what we consider to be modern diversity, equity and inclusion. The entire narrative needs to evolve.

There are an array of measures that have been taken to narrow the racial wealth gap in the United States. Some of those measures include but are not limited to grant programs, entrepreneurial training programs, and at times, robust sums of money being allocated seemingly scattershot to a select few entrepreneurs and/or fund managers.

All of the aforementioned are great approaches that have certainly made an impact but lack substance when funds are exhausted or when norms of diversity, equity and inclusion periodically fall out of the mainstream.

What is the solution to this evergreen issue? I argue that the establishment of a diverse ecosystem of developers, an ecosystem that offers access to capital, access to technology, and access to mentorship is one highly viable answer.

There is a dire need to create centers of excellence, both physical and virtual, across the United States; in urban hubs, where many minority-based communities have otherwise continued to lack exposure to (and thus access to) emerging technologies.

This lack of inclusivity at the urban community level is, unfortunately, old news.

In July of 2007, I personally sat in a computer lab at Binghamton University’s School of Management, alongside fellow incoming freshmen. Like my peers, I was thrilled at the prospect of attending a prestigious university and making an impact.

During one specific moment of our orientation process, we were asked to aggregate random data in order to execute what was called a ‘VLOOKUP’ function and then from it, create pivot tables.

There I was -- stunned.

I graduated at the top of my high school class and regardless of the AP-level courses that I had taken previously, I lacked familiarity with nearly every moderately-advanced Microsoft Excel function, aside from basic data entry.

I was the only black person in the room and the only person who did not jump right into Microsoft Excel to complete the assignment – ‘Imposter Syndrome’ began to settle in immediately.

If I could speak to my 18-year-old self, I would be reassured that it was not for lack of competency and knowledge, but rather a lack of exposure that led to such feelings of inadequacy.

We need to be building the next generation of GPs (General Partners) and eventually the next generation of LPs (Limited Partners). These GPs and LPs will truly be diverse, with the very real essence of diversity being the primary focus. We need to foster generational wealth for minority communities, with the path of least resistance in my view being the introduction of emerging technologies to the youth across inner-city communities.

Influencers from across the world, from the arenas of entertainment to athletics, are on board. We need to be the connective tissue that bridges the gap and lowers barriers to entry, thus providing equal opportunity and equitable impact.

Minorities and the majority should be encouraged to work together in a productive environment, hence the notion for the establishment of the EonXi startup studio/incubation lab — this is how we course-correct, truly changing the trajectory of race relations and consequently, the racial wealth and technological resource gap.

Take a look at the industry of eSports, which is expected to generate over $1 billion dollars in revenue by the end of the year; herein the possibilities are endless.

There is a growing need within that industry (behind the sensationalism of the gaming) for engineers, animators, technicians and producers. Everyone should have the opportunity to benefit from such booming cross-sector industries.

Our company is therefore and moreover starting an eSports league for young students in underrepresented areas. We have, for example, recently partnered with Wayne Mackey, Founder and CEO of Statespace, to create an academically-integrated eSports league. There are an array of athletes, influencers, entrepreneurs, and engineers who we will be working with, in order to teach our young people about all aspects of the industry and do so through the lens of STEAM-oriented coursework.

And we are just getting started.

So what do I mean when I talk about trickle down capitalism and the current state of the private equity landscape in brokering equality on the backdrop of the wholesale embrace of the Internet of Things (IoT)?

I’m talking about the trickle down of resources to the products, ideas and yes, the builders who need the tools in order to effect change and through that change, create revolutionary ‘unicorn’ companies.

Let’s co-develop concepts. Let’s connect talent to mentorship. Let’s create a safe space for new ideas to be addressed and in doing so, let’s foster a trickle-down effect that tackles the real world problems that are often overlooked.

There are social implications behind the notion of “Trickle Down Capitalism”. We shy away from divisiveness and seek to create a more collaborative society, one wherein there is an equal distribution of resources, one where everyone has a seat at the table. Implicit bias is the root cause of the racial tensions that plague our modern-day society.

Furthermore, there are culturally-specific problems that go unaddressed for years at a time. This can be attributed to a lack of minority representation in the field of innovation and in the private equity space.

Ultimately, diversity is a reality, but equity and inclusion is a choice that our technological innovators and members of the private equity community need to take to the forefront of America’s socio-economic consciousness in 2022.

Aaron Wilson is Co-Founder and Principal of EonXi