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Partner Spotlight

Meet our Partner Spotlight, The American Underground

In honor of Black History month, we want to shine a light on one of our newest partnerships. The American Underground! The American Underground, also known as the start up Hub of the south, is located in Downtown Durham and provides workspace, resources, and a vibrant community to startups and entrepreneurs. The AU is also home to 617’s Social Business Thursday- Speed Networking Events. 617 events are the last Thursday held on the 3rd floor rooftop lounge at the AU.

We had an opportunity to meet with the AU team and got the inside scoop on their commitment to serving minority business. We talked with Courtney High and Tim Scales. Thinking about the rich history in Durham when it comes to African American history and black excellence, we asked, How does The AU support the local minority community? “Its part of our mission here at American Underground to help create an increasingly equitable and diverse startup and business ecosystem, especially at the local level.We take great pride in being located in an area such as Durham with a rich legacy of Black entrepreneurship/ businesses, Black Wall Street, and a strong HBCU culture! We want to do our part in continuing that legacy within the Durham community by not only supporting black owned businesses but offering physical resources and events to empower and educate. We hold annual events such as The Black Founder’s Exchange for business owners and entrepreneurs within the area to expand their knowledge and network" Courtney, The AU’s Marketing Associate said.

We then asked the team, What makes AU different? Courtney, let us know that “We are not just a coworking space where you come grab a desk, pay your rent and leave. This is a community here, full of resources. We want to pour into you as much as you pour into us.” Courntey told us “One of the things that the AU is most proud of is the fact that Over 50% of our members are led by women or led by people of color. We put our money where our mouth is as far as creating an equitable space in business ownership, entrepreneurship and tech startups". We then dug a little deeper to ask, What makes Durham's entrepreneurial community unique? “While the AU is open to all entrepreneurs and those in the tech world, we really try to cater to those in the startup phase. We're unique in the fact that we don’t just provide a content and healthy workspace. The AU is a space those early in their startup journey can come to ask questions, find resources, and a network.The Durham entrepreneurial community is uniquely supportive and welcoming. Being a business owner is hard work, but knowing that you have peers and a network to connect with can really make a difference. When you start something in Durham, you'll find a whole community of people ready to share their expertise and their support to build you up and help you find success. It’s exciting to help local businesses and entrepreneurs down their path to greatness. The AU member community comprises over 200 companies from various industries including healthtech, edtech, media, and more.”

Our 617 team was super impressed with the commitment that AU has made to propel start up businesses and new entrepreneurs with limited resources. However, one question remained and we were able to catch up with Tim, Executive director to get it answered. Why was it important for The American Underground to partner with 617 Social?The mission of the AU is to connect and build community for entrepreneurs and business owners, and so partnering with 617 Social is a natural fit. We can collaborate to create a welcoming, inclusive space to help our members connect, network, and build their companies.

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