BlackTech Weekend Tulsa 2019
Published 11/18/2019 | Reading Time 1 min 43 sec
By BWSTimes Staff
TULSA, Okla. — On a crisp fall Saturday morning, Black professionals converged at 36 Degrees North — an entrepreneurial business hub for local startups, small business owners, freelancers, and remote workers.
They’re attending Tulsa’s first BlackTech Weekend, a two-day event for local, entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders.
BlackTech Weekend opened with business pitches from local Black entrepreneurs. A panel of judges awarded the top pitches with a $1,000 prize and office space at 36 Degrees. Chantelle Lott, founder of Concept C, and Leon Fowler II, founder of Emfluencer were the winners.
BlackTech Weekend Introduces local Black techies and entrepreneurs to larger networks. The event also shares resources about finding funding, the future of the tech industry, and training. BlackTech Weekend’s objective is to redevelop a healthier and stable Black ecosystem that’s innovative.
The idea was launched in 2014 by Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson, an ambitious Black power couple from Miami, FL. Their nonprofit organization, Code Fever Miami, focused on increasing exposure, workforce opportunities, and deal flow for Black startup founder and gave them access to venture capitalists, advanced education, and networking opportunities in a weeklong event called BlackTech Weekend. Their initial idea has since blossomed into a nationwide tour that’s been featured in Black Enterprise, Forbes and Huffington Post Entrepreneur Magazine.
The event featured Black tech leaders Ariel Lopez (CEO, Knac), Nici Kelly (Lead UI Engineer, Amobee), Libby Wuller (Executive Director, Holberton Tulsa), Dr. Fallon Wilson (Research Director, Black Tech Mecca), Hajj Flemings (Founder, Rebrand Cities), Govinda Davis (Dinsmore) & Lindsey Corbitt (Imagine It! Events, Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce), Brian Brackeen and Candice Matthews-Brackeen (co-founders of Hillman), and Fireside chat with Jewel Burks-Solomon, Advocate for Representation and Access in the Technology Industry.
“We’re on the grounds of Black Wall Street, which is one of the greatest entrepreneurial hubs in American history. It was destroyed, rebuilt, and it was dispersed again because of policies. Rather than just be people who immortalize Black people, I think it’s important for us not just to bring it back but transcend it. We have Black Wall Street. I think the future is a Black Silicon Valley. I think tech is the oil, and I think Tulsa is the perfect hub,” Tyrance Billingsley II, a civic innovator and entrepreneurship fellow at George Kaiser Family Foundation, said.
Since its founding as the tech capital of the world, Silicon Valley has faced mounting criticism for its lack of diversity. Black employees make-up less than 3-percent of tech workers at Uber, Twitter, Google, and Facebook; BlackTech Weekend is hoping to change that narrative.