Techpreneur Kimberly Bryant on #Consumers2Creators

Sponsored by Nielsen
ESSENCE.COM Sep, 14, 2018
Black women have become the ones to watch across the digi-sphere. They are boldly taking the world by storm and not looking back. Kimberly Bryant, Founder of Black Girls CODE, is one of those dynamic women. She knows that social media is key to changing the face of technology.
 
Bridging the gap between new platforms and business models, Nielsen is reporting that African Americans are dominating the digital scene in a recent report titled From Consumers to Creators: The Digital Lives of Black Consumers.
 
“The breath of Black America’s digital footprint has grown exponentially with the rise of smartphones and increased access to new mediums for content exchange,” says Kimberly.
 
“The access to technology among Black consumers is a lightning rod that’s opening doors of opportunity to creativity, entrepreneurship and financial independence.”
 
Social media has become a total game-changer for Black women as they create, develop and grow their own businesses. Working to inspire young girls to delve into the fields of technology and computer science, while exploring entrepreneurial concepts, Bryant has relied heavily on social engagement to start conversations. “From the inception of Black Girls CODE, we used social media as a modality for connecting and informing our community of our work and the impact we were making in the local areas we serve,” she says.  
 
As many African Americans use today’s tech to be seen and heard, it is also a cutting-edge way to develop brands, generate revenue streams and build business empires. It was a pretty powerful moment for Bryant when she realized just how integral social media was to her success. “Recently I experienced this realization in fall 2017 when a community supporter (Kristy Tillman of Slack) initiated an organic crowdfunding campaign on behalf of Black Girls CODE after we turned down a large funding opportunity from Uber,” explains Kimberly. “Kristy utilized Twitter to activate an army of supporters to raise over $200,000 on our behalf and far exceed the donation we turned down from Uber. It was an overwhelming and beautiful experience to witness how social media could be used to harness community in such a powerful way.”
 
Right now, the marketplace is experiencing an exciting shift. “Black women have always been ideators and entrepreneurs. I believe the greater visibility currently is driven by access to the digital economies of scale and the proliferation of technology as a business tool,” says Bryant. “Since Black women are early adopters of technology and heavy consumers of it, there is a natural progression for us to harness these capabilities as both innovators and creators.” And the outlook is bright, she adds, “what will be really exciting will be witnessing the expansion of Black women from small business owners to true industry icons utilizing the power of social media to connect.”
 
Black women are utilizing the anonymity of social platforms to level the playing field and get ahead of their competition. “African American influence has long resonated cross-culturally, and now it’s being delivered directly from creator to consumer unencumbered by corporate scrutiny,” says Cheryl Grace, Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen. “Give talented, creative people unobstructed access to the world stage and, inevitably, they will shine.”
 
And Kimberly is looking toward the future, “because we are change makers and creative forces,” she says. “Our leadership and exposure will inevitably bring a variety of new and exciting products to the marketplace and inspire greater creativity in all fields.”
 
Discover more about Nielsen and the digital habits of today’s African American consumers in the report, From Consumers to Creators: The Digital Lives of Black ConsumersFollow@NielsenKnows for latest trends and information on Black and other multicultural consumers.