Black Tech Miami is a mustard seed that has sprouted into something serious. What started in March 2012 as a simple idea of creating an atmosphere of joining startups across Miami quickly became a respected focus of business opportunities for black entrepreneurs.
Last week, the Knight Foundation announced a significant investment in Blacktech entrepreneurship with a $ 1.5 million donation. The funding commitment supports the Black Innovation Center, an effort to move Black Tech Miami forward. Other donations made to this project include $ 350,000 from the Surdna Foundation, an organization focused on social justice reform, and $ 250,000 from ComcastNBC Universal.
Derick Pearson, co-founder of Code Fever Miami and Black Tech Miami, and guest speakers filmed at an event promoting black entrepreneurship.
Courtesy of Derrick Pearson Courtesy of Derrick Pearson
Co-founded by Ferresia Hatcher and Derrick Pearson, the center will cover angel investor training, venture capital investor matchmaking sessions, and programming on ongoing data collection on the impact of the startup ecosystem on the black community. .. A combination of face-to-face and virtual courses will be held in Overtown.
For years, Hatcher and Pearson have worked hard to tackle fairness and access in the tech world. They were Code Fever Miami Inc in 2016. Created BlackTech Miami, which has evolved into, and was encouraged to provide young people in the minority community with the skills they need in the STEM industry. Now, after securing physical space and financial support, the social entrepreneur duo has rebranded its previous initiative to pave the way for black innovation.
As the cornerstone of the opportunity, the center will provide the technical assistance needed to build community-based businesses and create jobs. Patrice Green, Head of Comprehensive Economic Program at Surdnas, states that they have built a brand and reputation for successful connections.
Surdna previously promised to support color entrepreneurs through a strategic refinement process in 2018. Since then, the organization has participated in several Hatcher and Pearson events in Tulsa.
We are not the largest foundation, but we want to provide people with a large amount of money enough to move the gold post, Green said.
According to the center’s president, Pearson, the pivot from Code Fever to the Entrepreneurship Program was a request from members who wanted a fair path to black prosperity.
Dalila Wilson-Scott, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Comcast, has a high failure rate when looking at startups, depending on having access to the right network to help their business grow. We were in a great position to work with Felesia and Derrick. They are interested not only in generating income for themselves, but also in maintaining the black community when such things are now in great need in our country.
Through the center, black-owned startups have the opportunity to participate in a business accelerator program exploring how to create a financial model and take advantage of Tribe Development Studio to access consultants and explain how to use products of minimal value. there is. Acquire investors.
Various opportunities to promote black entrepreneurship offered by the center include the VC-in-Residence program, Black Ecosystem Builders Fellowship, Startup Studio and Investor Accreditation.
Raul Moas, director of the Knights Miami program, explained in the past that some entrepreneurs have opted out to set up startups in the city due to lack of support and infrastructure. Organizations like Knight, combined with the work done by people like Hatcher and Pearson, could move the needle to create more opportunities, especially in the black community.
Some of our community entrepreneurs didn’t feel they belonged to or had a way. Now, he says, it’s all about getting people to reach their full potential while being part of the city without having to go elsewhere, and the Foundation supports about 500 startups. He added that he had done it.
Part of this task is to meet people to make sure they have the resources they need. More must be done to make sure Miami has space for black entrepreneurs, Moas said.
Center for Black Innovation is accessible to almost anyone in the community who is inspired to follow the path of entrepreneurship. The CenterForBlackInnovation.org questionnaire must be completed by stakeholders to express their interest in the program before being notified when the application in question will be published. Programs start in January and some programs have an approaching deadline, while others, like fellowships, end in December.
According to Pearson, we have long-term goals and want to raise more money to lay the foundation for what we believe will last.
Center for Black Innovation wants to raise another $ 2.1 million to sustain its efforts. In the first week of February, a virtual conference will begin to involve Black Tech entrepreneurs.
Ultimately, if they succeed, the rewards and benefits of this community will last for generations, Wilson Scott said. Creating a cycle of growth and innovation is the catalyst.
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