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Working together

KKR, Harlem Capital help forge investment management careers for women, minorities

Henri Pierre-Jacques said Harlem Capital is ‘changing the face of entrepreneurship.’

KKR & Co. Inc. and Harlem Capital Partners are partnering to get more women and minorities into investment management, focusing on people in college or at the beginning of their careers.

The New York-based Harlem Capital Partners is an early stage venture capital firm whose mission is "to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years." HCP started an internship program in January 2018 to bring more women and minorities into venture capital. Of nearly 1,000 applications to date, it has hired 28 interns to conduct market research, due diligence and financial analysis.

Under the new partnership, HCP will refer candidates and former interns to KKR for consideration in its internship and full-time hiring programs.

Henri Pierre-Jacques, HCP co-founder and managing partner, said less than 3% of all venture capital dollars goes to underrepresented founders, which the firm believes is due to the lack of diverse investors. "We are changing the face of entrepreneurship by investing primarily in disruptive startups founded by women and diverse entrepreneurs," Mr. Pierre-Jacques said.

The partnership is one of several KKR initiatives to increase awareness of and access to the firm. It also has an MBA summer internship program and a full-time analyst program. Bola Osakwe, global head of inclusion and diversity at KKR, called having a more diverse workplace "a business imperative. … We know we have to adjust how and from where we are sourcing talent."

Congress is watching as well. "Financial institutions are likely to find their (diversity and inclusion) policies the subject of greater attention and scrutiny," said Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee's new Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion.

At the subcommittee's inaugural hearing in late February, Ms. Beatty said she will be analyzing diversity trends and data and overseeing practices among financial services firms and regulators.