This weekend in Atlanta, thousands of creatives will gather downtown for activations, conversations, and live events. Over the last 15 years in October, The A3C festival has brought together a group of bubbling Black insiders who are in the fashion, music, or tech space and looking to invest and broaden their career path.
With two new members to the ownership board, Real Housewives of Atlanta co-stars Tanya Sam and Paul Judge, the festival has taken a tech approach due to both of their careers of entrepreneurship in the tech space. On top of their new incisions for the festival, Sam has launched the Ambition Fund Pitch Battle Competition where the tech power couple will award one creative with $25,000. The judges will also consist of a few of Sam’s high power friends, which includes ladies of RHOA.
Before ESSENCE heads down to A3C, we got a chance to talk with Tanya and Paul about the Black tech space, fashion, and what they hope attendees will take away from this year’s festival.
ESSENCE: What made you both want to invest in A3C?
Paul: Atlanta culture really permeates throughout the globe, so we had the opportunity to amplify that. We were excited to invite the world to see more of what Atlanta does in terms of not only music but technology, film, and the overall culture. So we were honored to join the ownership group.
ESSENCE: What does the Black tech space look like?
Tanya: Eight years working in technology and then joining that world of entertainment, I get a lot of outreach from Black people who are like, “how do I get into technology?” And I think one of the messages to put out there is technology is eating the world. It is a piece and taking a bite out of every single industry, whether it is fashion, culture, or how people order food. And I think, creating events that really give Black people the opportunity to take part and realize that there is something new.
One of the key things that we’re doing is creating content and workshops where people can come and learn how to build business network around other people who’s working in technology.
“Creating events that really give black people the opportunity to take part and realize that there is something new.” – Tanya Sam
ESSENCE: Where do you see fashion and technology going in 2020?
Tanya: I have so many women and founders who are building things in the technology and fashion space, whether it’s how you shop or how the clothing is constructed, 2020 is going to be a really amazing journey for fashion and technology. Even enhanced fabric for clothing that includes temperature skill. The world is our oyster and you just have to keep being the creators and applying it to different sectors like fashion and technology.
ESSENCE: What was your goal with the Ambition Fund Pitch Competition?
Tanya: I was inundated by so many female minorities and people of color who were looking to scale businesses. So the ambition fund is that vehicle to help. Over 1200 applications from all across the country from founders who are just looking for help and mentorship. We narrowed it down to five that we’ll pitch on stage in front of hundreds for the $25,000 tax investment. What I also did was bring in more of my friends, who are all businesswomen, serve as judges on the panel to choose the winner.
ESSENCE: When guests leave A3C, what is something you want them to take away?
Paul: We’re highlighting how Atlanta impacts the world. But, also highlighting that these are creatives who turn into entrepreneurs. We have the conversations that help you go from creative to entrepreneur. When people leave here, I think they’ll also be better at building their craft and into a business. And as we continue to do that over the next decade, is that how we help change the world by helping more creative, have longevity in their career path.