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Alicia Sheares, "Navigating Constraint: The Racialized Legitimation Strategies of Black Tech Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and Atlanta," in conversation with Bridget Algee-Hewitt

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This paper merges the literature on race, entrepreneurship, and place to understand how Black tech entrepreneurs in two sites– Silicon Valley and Atlanta – understand and respond to challenges within their respective ecosystems. Relying on nearly 100 interviews with Black tech spaces, I find that "BTE" in these two locations encountered similar barriers but relied on different tactics, what I call racialized legitimation strategies, to get ahead. Those in Silicon Valley adopted the strategy of racial coverage which entailed gaining elite credentials, while those in Atlanta relied on the strategy of blackness as currency, which centered on forming connections with elite Black entrepreneurs. By examining Black entrepreneurs in two locations, I gauge to what extent the racialization of entrepreneurs is bounded by place, while also showing us the strategies Black people must adopt to navigate this unequal reality to make their mark. Implications for the literature and broader impact will also be discussed.



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