Kentucky, E. Michigan team with Gen.G on esports scholarships
Breaking into esports has always been a challenge for women, people of color and even low-income students. The opportunities for entry into top organizations, either at the competitive level or in corporate positions, oftentimes aren’t available or barriers are too steep.
Global esports leader Gen.G. along with a number of partners – including the University of Kentucky and Eastern Michigan University – are hoping to change that.
On Thursday, they forged an agreement to provide a total of $1 million in scholarships – $100,000 over 10 years through the Gen.G Foundation – to worthy recipients from underserved groups across the U.S. Those chosen few will be known as the “Gen 10”.
“The gaming industry has only scratched the surface of developing talented young gamers who can lead the industry’s next generation,” said Chris Park, chief executive officer of Gen.G. “This and future classes of the ‘Gen 10’ will strengthen the diversity and representation that gaming needs to reach its full potential.”
That select group of students who enroll in a U.S. university or college must show interest in gaming, esports, entrepreneurship, journalism or content creation. Applications for the inaugural class will open on Sept. 15 with winners being announced in December. Scholarships are valued at $10,000 each.
The University of Kentucky and Eastern Michigan University each will provide a scholarship to a lucky student. Social networking platform Bumble and Silicon Valley Bank also will give an individual scholarship to one of the Gen 10 while Gen.G will award the six other scholarships, with students able to use the monies toward the colleges and universities of their choice.
Those scholarships will open the door for many students who may not have seen these opportunities in the past.
“Last year, Bumble partnered with Gen.G to launch its very first all-women’s Fortnite team and we’re excited to take the relationship one step further by taking part in the Gen.G Foundation,” said Chelsea Cain Maclin, vice president of marketing. “When Bumble was founded as a social networking platform in 2014, it was with equality in mind. As we move forward to drive positive, institutional change within our organization and beyond, we look to include, uplift, and support the diverse communities we serve. We understand that there’s a long way to go, but we’re looking forward to diversifying and empowering the next generation of esports professionals through this partnership.”
For both Kentucky and Eastern Michigan, the Gen 10 partnership builds on unique relationships the universities have forged within the past year with the esports giant. UK, for example, has held a number of esports events as well as panels with Gen.G. leaders.
Chris Burt is a reporter and editor for University Business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org