Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts and 2020 presidential candidate, speaks during the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas.

Editor’s Note: Derrick N. Ashong is founder and CEO of The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

As an African immigrant entrepreneur who fled coup d’états in my home country of Ghana and grew up partly in the Gulf War-era Middle East, I have little trust for politicians. Due to the popularity of the “president for life” model in so many of the places I grew up, I’m used to politicians not addressing my concerns. But Elizabeth Warren gave me new hope last month.

As part of her plan to close the racial wealth gap, Warren wants to allocate $7 billion in federal funding to a Small Business Equity Fund that would help entrepreneurs and small business owners from underrepresented communities. If enacted, the policy would effectively make the federal government the nation’s largest investor in minority-run startups.

Warren referenced an important statistic in her plan, which was posted on Medium: “[T]he average black-owned business only gets 3% of what a similar white-owned business receives in outside investment shortly after founding.” In tech, it’s even worse.

I know what that looks like from the inside. Despite having graduated from Harvard and establishing myself as a leader at the nexus of tech and media, it took me four years to raise the first $1 million in seed funding for my startup.

From the outside, it seemed white entrepreneurs continually received the benefit of the doubt, while no matter what hoop I jumped through to prove my credibility, few investors would consider taking a risk on my company.

I am one of countless qualified tech founders who have been passed over for funding because I didn’t look the part. Only 3% of Silicon Valley venture funding goes to startups founded by women. Less than 2% of tech executives are black, while 83% of tech executives are white.

The much touted “pipeline problem,” meaning not enough women and founders of color are entering the tech industry, is a myth. There are plenty of women and people of color who would like to break through in tech and have the will and proven chops to do so. The problem is that the top tier of the industry tends to feel more comfortable with people who look like them and may, even unwittingly, place less trust in those who don’t.

Female founders and founders of color are disproportionately likely to innovate in their fields because we have always had to think outside of the box, and even create our own boxes, in order to succeed. We have had to do more with less. We are everything that Silicon Valley says it believes in, yet rarely invests in.

By ignoring the value created by women- and minority-run businesses, Silicon Valley is leaving billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars on the table. And one thing’s for sure. If they don’t pick it up, someone else will. Already, companies overlooked by the usual suspects in Silicon Valley are finding support abroad in Asia, Africa and Latin-America. After pivoting our business development and funding strategies to target strategic partners and investment funds in emerging markets, my startup has raised more capital in the last six months than in the previous four years.

I still believe that no one politician is a silver bullet for our problems as a country, and Warren is not the only Democratic candidate with strong positions on race. But as a naturalized American, I can respect a public servant who takes into account the needs of people who don’t look like her or come from where she came from, and I look forward to hearing more from her along the campaign trail. With the racial wealth gap widening, instead of narrowing, urgent action — like the billions of investment that Warren is proposing — is required to help the U.S. compete on the global stage by leveraging the contributions of all Americans.