Nearly 1,600 Black entrepreneurs and innovators gathered at Florida International University in Miami last week for the second annual Black Tech Week.
Founded by Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson, the conference aims to unite Black tech entrepreneurs and provide them with workshops and networking events to help diversify the Whitewashed industry.
“Blacks and Hispanics will make up 42 percent of the U.S. population in the next 20 years,” said Benjamin Evans, managing director of BMe Community, a nationwide organization that united Black men in order to build stronger communities, to NBC News. “When you’ve got an industry that’s working on innovations to help build communities, it’s important to make sure that those within that industry itself are representative of the community.”
Hosted by Dell and the Knight Foundation, the conference gave 1,600 attendees an opportunity to interact with government officials, including White House technology policy advisor Marvin Carr Ph.D., who are leading efforts to bring more individuals of color to the tech industry.
In addition to discussions and panels, including sessions that explored ways to diversify STEM fields in a push to get overlooked populations like former prisoners involved, female entrepreneurs attended a women’s innovation brunch, and Power Moves Miami, an incubator for underrepresented entrepreneurs, hosted a pitch competition.
“You have to build the city that you want,” Fletcher said to the Huffington Post. “Black Tech Week is our gift to the ecosystem in Miami…There is such genius and raw talent in our community. We don’t need to leave our community to be successful.”