The innovations needed for humanity and all living things to continue to inhabit earth are inevitably green solutions to our biggest problems
So a quick disclaimer about Afrotech, I actually never made it to the conference but I did make it to a dinner that my friend from Blavity (the parent company of Afrotech) invited me to and it was a great experience. I also made my way to some of the surrounding events and festivities around the conference which was fun and gave me a chance to meet some great people. I have to say that I’m impressed to see this conference that launched in 2016 with about 600 attendees grow to about 6000 in just a 3 year span.
If you don’t know about Afrotech or didn’t assume from the name that it had something to do with black people and technology then you would have been correct. In fact it’s the largest tech convention for people of color in the country. Now before you jump to conclusions and think of how that could come off as exclusionary or biased let me provide a few stats from an article I read by Crunchbase:
- 77.1 percent of founders were white—regardless of gender and education.
- Just one percent of venture-backed founders were black.
- Women-funded startups received only 9 percent of investments.
- Latino founders made up 1.8 percent of those receiving funding, while Middle Easterners totaled 2.8 percent.
What Afrotech represents to me as a POC in tech is a community of willing and able people that have and will continue to be overlooked taking the bull by the horns and creating opportunity for themselves in a very ‘good oh boys’ industry.
The event had a lot of substance, was diverse within industry which displayed in the panels and had plenty to offer entrepreneurs, techies and attendees of the conference. Most of the household tech companies we’re all familiar with also play a role by either having reps speak on a panel or throw a pop-up event at their own at their HQ for convention goers to explore. Below are a few of the notable speakers from this years conference:
Delane Parnell – Founder & CEO @ PlayVS
Angelica Nwandu – Founder @ The Shade Room
Charlamagne Tha God – TV & Media Personality
John Zimmer – Co-Founder & President @ Lyft
Angela Rye – CEO & Principle @ IMPACT Strategies
Hannibal Burress – Comedian, Writer, Podcast Host, Actor
If you haven’t had a chance to see anything from the conference, here is a quick recap of the 2018 conference as there isn’t much quality footage that I could find online.