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Feb

Black Tech Week to draw entrepreneurs from around globe to Miami

Black Tech Week to draw entrepreneurs from around globe to Miami

Miami entrepreneur Felecia Hatcher is organizing Black Tech Week.
Silicon Valley isn’t known for its diversity: Less than 5 percent of Google, Facebook and Twitter’s employees are black.

But South Florida’s burgeoning tech scene doesn’t have to be the same, Miami entrepreneur Felecia Hatcher said.

“As we try to replicate the success of Silicon Valley, we have to try not to duplicate the diversity problem,” she said.

Hatcher and her husband, Derick Pearson, organized Black Tech Week, a series of events in Miami that will highlight black entrepreneurs as well as business opportunities in Africa, Haiti and Jamaica. The events run Feb. 23 to Feb. 28.

Speakers include Chinedu Echeruo, who founded HopStop, an online transit guide that Apple acquired for $1 billion. Miami entrepreneurs Brian Brackeen, Stonly Baptiste and Pandwe Gibson will also speak.

During the week, the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce will announce an African trade commission that will travel to the continent in the fall to explore business opportunities. The group will also travel to Washington, D.C.

“Trade is a major part of the Miami economy, and we want to make sure we’re growing that in the right way and just building up as much infrastructure as possible,” Pearson said.

Hatcher and Pearson co-founded Code Fever to help people from impoverished communities learn to code, and they run ice cream truck company Feverish Pops.

Many black entrepreneurs have told Hatcher stories of discriminatory comments from investors and business partners.

“That really fuels the work that we’re doing to make sure that people don’t have to go through those experiences. … As an entrepreneur, you’re already up against so much, so to have that punch in the gut makes you want to not leave your box,” she said.

Celia Ampel covers technology, startups, venture capital and angel investment. Stay on top of the latest venture news with our free daily newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

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