Multinational investment banking leader Morgan Stanley has recently joined forces with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to empower more diverse individuals to pursue entrepreneurship. Morgan Stanley lends their Multicultural Innovation Lab to the NJ Accelerate project in order to enable women and people of color to kickstart their pursuits with funding.Funding Minorities in 2021Launching in the winter of 2021, the partnership will provide $250,000 worth of funding for aspiring entrepreneurs to use as capital. On top of that, those who get picked will be given half a year of free rent, provided that they operate from New Jersey. This goes hand-in-hand with other initiatives geared towards championing minorities and forward-thinking causes through business opportunities, like the NJEDA's Cleantech Seed Grant Program.A 2018 survey done by Morgan Stanley's Multicultural Innovation Lab (MSMIL) revealed an interesting phenomenon: Though investors and bank loan officers often think they provide equal opportunities across race, gender, and class, they actually capitalized on multicultural and women-owned businesses at 80% less than businesses overall. This only further highlights the need for projects like NJEDA and Morgan Stanley's to hone in on those underserved communities.Moreover, the Morgan Stanley partnership comes hot on the heels of New Jersey's efforts to break down the barriers disenfranchised sectors often face when starting out with entrepreneurship. This can have a huge impact on the minorities in the state, as Zen Business’s guide to New Jersey LLCs points out that The Garden State is not just the eighth largest economy in the country, but also one of the most diverse. Local support is extremely important to small businesses here, and the tides are shifting in a way that seems more promising for new players in the market.New Jersey Leveling the Playing FieldNew Jersey has already proven itself an attractive spot for startups looking to innovate. The dense district is not far from New York City, and the state has long provided financial incentives to budding entrepreneurs.Though only time will tell if the partnership will yield success, the shift towards better representation in business has already seen great steps forward in recent years. In 2019, SAP.iO's efforts with the "SAP.iO No Boundaries" initiative made waves by engaging innovative startups with women and POC founders, vowing to help no less than 200 minority-led entries and create more equal footing in the field.With continued pioneership from major industry contributors like these, the large disparity between minorities and "traditional" institutions looks to be lessened in the future. MSMIL representatives have noted how these efforts are meant to create a more exciting space for venture capitalism and investors, as more players are being given the chance to shine and move past barriers that may have once felt more intrinsic in the white, male-dominated business landscape. Additionally, because of the project's focus on innovation, it seems to be shaping up to be a viable platform particularly for startups in the tech and information industry. That said, any aspiring entrepreneur that hails from these underrepresented communities can learn more from both NJEDA and Morgan Stanley's resources, so they can apply for this opportunity.For more news on technology and business, our articles here on CIO Bulletin hope to provide you with the latest updates in the industry.