Black Tech Week is bringing innovators of color and igniting conversation not only to inspire the community to have more of a presence in the field of technology and in business, but to also open discussions on technology and entrepreneurship beyond the local streets of Miami.
Black Tech Week, which runs through Saturday, is the brainchild of Miami-based nonprofit, Code Fever. The event gives a platform to entrepreneurs, tech innovators, startup founders, venture capitalists, seasoned investors and other thought leaders.
On Thursday, Black Tech Week goes global and presents several speakers discussing technology, business and startups in countries, like Cuba and Jamaica. There will be a further discussion on technology businesses in Africa.
Entrepreneur and creator of Black Tech Week Felecia Hatcher created a panel discussion called “Tapping into Africa” with tech entrepreneurs and innovators who founded companies in Africa. Speaker and panelist Jonathan D. Gosier is an African-American software developer, investor, and philanthropist. Business Insider named Gosier one of the 25 Most Influential African-Americans In Technology.
In 2008, Gosier founded and is the current CEO of Appfrica that was created in Kampalam, Uganda. Appfrica is a market research technology firm, which endorses Africa’s tech sector and assists multinational firms to invest in Africa.
One of Gosier’s goals during Black Tech Week is to share his success stories and the possibilities he has as an entrepreneur in Africa.
“I want them to hear from people like myself what we’ve done and how we’ve successfully monetized our work in Africa. They can draw their own conclusions from that,” said Gosier.
During Black Tech Week Gosier will be sharing his familiarity with and enlightening people about business in Africa in hopes to break people’s perception on the development of Africa.
“Many people have the perception of Africa that does not match reality,” said Gosier. “The continent is home to seven of the 10 fastest growing countries in the world. It has 300 million middle-income consumers and growing stability and wealth. It’s the last great business frontier.”
Gosier is looking forward to meeting and getting to know the local business community in Miami. He also shared his perspectives on reasons why he decided to be part of Black Tech Week.
“I participate in a lot of tech events around the world. This one is important for many reasons,” said Gosier. “The tech community has a lot of issues with inclusion and diversity that aren’t being addressed. I think calling attention to racial inclusion is certainly worth supporting.”
Gosier’s latest company is called Predictive Pop, which produces products for the entertainment industry.
Other speakers include Chinedu Echeruo, tech entrepreneur and founder of HopStop.com, which was reportedly sold to Apple in the “billion” dollar range. Local panelists include Brian Brackeen, founder of facial recognition software, Kairos; attorney Marlon Hill; Digital Grass founder Michael Hall; and Pandwe Gibson of Ecotech Vision.
A two-day summit takes place at Miami Dade College North Campus on Friday and Saturday Hatcher, who cofounded Code Fever, says the event was inspired to change the narrative surrounding African-Americans and replace it with innovation, creativity and technology during the last week of Black History Month.
“We wanted to create something that was almost like a Black History Month 2.0, where we’re always injecting creativity, technology, innovation into the month, and activities that take place and really try to stretch it,” Hatcher said. “Ever since the big companies released their diversity numbers last year there’s been a lot of conversation around those numbers and of course the lack of diversity in the tech space. We really wanted to create something that was more focused on creating solutions to solve that problem.”
Hatcher expects Black Tech Week to propel Miami as the U.S. gateway to the Caribbean and the African diaspora, much like the city has become a gateway to Latin America.
“People don’t really think of tech and Miami,” she adds. “But a lot of people are now saying why not South Florida, why not the South. The cost of living is much cheaper and there is a pool of talent for major corporations and startups.”
Black Tech Week, it is supported by a steering committee of community leaders alongside the Knight Foundation, Accelerate Google, Miami Dade College’s North Campus and other organizations.