Posted at 12:04 PM
Created on February 29, 2016
African-Americans currently make up less than three percent of the nation's technology workforce. Seeking to increase the number of African-American and other ethnic minority technology executives, engineers, and business owners, the second annual Black Tech Week was held earlier this month, featuring PowerMoves Miami, a nonprofit incubator and training organization.
Prior to the conference, PowerMoves Miami led a 6-week boot camp for 29 startup companies that focused on pitching to investors. The boot camp culminated with a Demo Day pitch competition. In addition to boot camp training and pitch competitions, the conference provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs of color to network and become part of the PowerMoves and Black Tech Week communities.
Headquartered in New Orleans, PowerMoves has served as a catalyst for advancing ethnic minority entrepreneurs in the Gulf Coast. Through recent sponsorships, including a $400,000 grant from the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), PowerMoves has expanded their program to other cities, including Miami and Detroit.
At the Black Tech Week conference, MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo shared advice and discussed the role of public-private partnerships in supporting minority-owned startups and technology firms. Director Castillo emphasized that by 2044, the majority of the U.S. population will be racial and ethnic minorities and it will be important to our economy that they are fully represented in rapidly growing technology and innovative industries.
Participants had the opportunity to promote their companies, network with thought-leaders, and connect with local and national startup communities. Joann Hill, Chief of MBDA's Office of Business Development, served as a judge for the Angel Pitch Competition and provided advice to start-ups on business sustainability and increasing global competitiveness.
Since 1969, MBDA has played a vital role in connecting minority-owned businesses to opportunities to expand their organizations. MBDA’s partnership with PowerMoves Miami provides a platform to continue training, promoting and supporting emerging minority entrepreneurs.
The winner of the Angel Pitch Competition was a startup named Virgil. They were represented by CEO and Founder Ron Mitchell.