President Barack Obama poses for a photo with Jewel Burks and Jason Crain, Atlanta, Ga. of Partpic, while hosting top innovators and startup founders from across the country for the first White House Demo Day, Aug. 4, 2015, in the State Dinning Room of the White House in Washington. Partpic allows customers to take a picture of a part they want to replace and automatically receive product name, specifications, and supplier information. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Barack Obama poses for a photo with Jewel Burks and Jason Crain, Atlanta, Ga. of Partpic, while hosting top innovators and startup founders from across the country for the first White House Demo Day, Aug. 4, 2015, in the State Dinning Room of the White House in Washington. Partpic allows customers to take a picture of a part they want to replace and automatically receive product name, specifications, and supplier information. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

As the tech industry continues to drive economic growth, there is a yearning for more people of color to lead companies rooted in creativity and ingenuity.

At the first-ever White House Demo Day on Aug. 4, President Obama noted that less than 1 percent of companies that are backed by venture capitalists have a Black founder.

“It’s always hard to get in front of people, especially for women and minorities,” Obama said.

The event highlighted technology-based startups from across the country. Each entrepreneur pitched their company to the president who questioned them on their personal and academic backgrounds, professional experience, the idea behind their products or services, and financing opportunities.

While making his rounds, Obama spoke with several minority entrepreneurs. Among those chosen were Jewel Burks, co-founder and CEO of Partpic, an Atlanta-based company that uses image recognition software to identify industrial supply replacement parts; Pashon Murray, founder of Detroit Dirt, a Michigan-based company that collects food waste from companies and transforms it into rich soil; and Frederick Hutson, founder of Pigeonly, a Las Vegas-based company creating solutions for people who want to stay in touch with loved ones in prison.

President Barack Obama meets with Ann Marie Sastry, Ann Arbor, Mich., of Sakti3 as he hosted top innovators and startup founders from across the country for the first White House Demo Day, Aug. 4, 2015, in the White House in Washington. Sakti is using materials science to develop the next generation of solid state lithium batteries that will power mobile phones, computers, and even cars. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“Yet we’ve seen again and again that companies with diverse leadership often outperform those that don’t,” the president said. “That’s the market that is out there – not just here in the United States, but globally. So, that lack of participation from everybody isn’t good for business.”

In the District, startup entrepreneurs who were not invited to the White House event, hosted an off-site tech gathering at the same time. DC-based startup Mission: Launch convened with supporters at Impact Hub in Penn Quarter to view the event that was livestreamed on whitehouse.gov. The group joined to hear President Obama speak about “the importance of inclusive tech and inclusive entrepreneurship,” said Laurin Hodge, Mission: Launch co-founder, in a release. Hodge launched the company in 2012, after her mother Teresa Hodge was sentenced to an 87-month prison sentence. Today, the company’s Rebuilding Re-entry campaign focuses on the needs and rights of white collar, first-time, nonviolent females returning as citizens after their incarceration.

Through initiatives like TechHire and Startup in a Day, President Obama made a commitment to expand resources for entrepreneurs on the federal level. “We have to unleash the full potential of every American,” he said. “Because you never know who is going to have the next big idea or what path will lead them there.”