Black Tech Week 2018 happens Feb. 6 through 10 at various locations throughout Miami. The minority centric, ecosystem-building festival has, since its inception in 2014, convened over 2700 participants, more than 150 speakers and 3 pitch competitions. Blacktech Week partners with founders, corporations, and the community to create a valuable threeday national experience for investors, entrepreneurs, and techies of every kind.
Black Tech Week offers innovative programming
By MICHELLE HOLLINGER
Historic black movements like the Harlem Renaissance provided the physical and intellectual space for brilliant African-American artists, writers, and thought-leaders to create and express their excellence. Black Tech Week could be considered a modern-day version of the Harlem Renaissance, but for the black tech world; with an added purpose of connecting those new to the field to seasoned professionals eager to provide insight and motivation for excelling in tech.
The annual gathering, originally scheduled for October but rescheduled to February thanks to Hurricane Irma, brings together the best and brightest in the tech industry for several days of thought-provoking, out-of-the-box sessions designed to help blacks and minorities gain access to information, innovation and funding.
Founded by Felecia Hatcher-Pearson and Derick Pearson and now in its fourth year, “The goal of Black Tech Week is to ensure that black tech leaders that are in private industry and government, venture capitalists, civic coders and visionaries from across the U.S., Africa and the Caribbean get together so they can network and create what the co-founders dub “collision points” to effectuate change, create jobs, build generational wealth and more,” explained Starex Smith, vice president of development for Black Tech Week.
In an era where tech giants like Google, Yahoo, Facebook and others shape so much of how society functions, it is important to have blacks in those spaces. A conference like Black Tech Week is necessary “To show that blacks are creators of tech. It’s important that we have positive examples in our community for future generations to be inspired by,” Smith shared.
One such example is an innovator like Rodney Williams, Founder/CEO of LISNR, a company influencing mobile connectivity with a new communication protocol that is the most efficient way to connect any device with a speaker or microphone.
“Blacktech Week creates an atmosphere where owners of startups can obtain insight and advice from gurus who have already become successful. This event is an important way to celebrate technological and entrepreneurial successes in the black community,” said Smith, who is also known as The Hungry Black Man, a food blogger spotlighting black-owned restaurants across the country, but primarily in South Florida.
Smith added, “Attendees can expect to step into a conference filled with innovative, aspiring, and bold professionals who are ready to network and collaborate with individuals just like them.”
This year’s conference has three components:
GovEduCon: a day event on smart cities, robust public K-12 STEM education, ecosystem building and competitiveness, and smart cities and open data for Black and Brown municipalities.
HustleReunion: a two-day minority centric ecommerce, entrepreneurship, employment, and inclusive innovation and competitiveness event.
Maskoff Lab: a day-long workshop designed to empower educators to expand steam opportunities for communities around the globe by tackling real-world issues through innovation while unleashing their personal brand. Maskoff includes the WomensInnovationBrunch, and the youth HipHopHackathon in partnership with BET.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Black Tech Week
WHERE: Various locations
WHEN: Feb. 6 through 10
COST: Tickets begin at $49 and can be purchased at blacktechweek.com
CONTACT: For more information, visit http://blacktechweek.com, call 305-482-1832 or