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Feb

Black Tech Week will connect and propel black entrepreneurs with $100,000 from Knight Foundation

MIAMI—Feb. 12, 2015 — To celebrate innovation, creativity and technology in the black community, the first-ever Black Tech Week will bring together black innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors in Miami from Feb. 23-28, 2015 at Miami Dade College North Campus. Presented by Miami-based Code Fever, an organization that teaches minority youth how to code and build entrepreneurial skills, the event is supported by $100,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“Black Tech Week was inspired by the vision to change the narrative surrounding the Black community. It provides the optimal combination to effect change within the community and add another dimension to Black History Month, introducing innovation and empowerment,” said Felicia Hatcher, founder of Code Fever. “We hope the event will accelerate Miami as the U.S. gateway to the Caribbean and the entire African diaspora, much like the city has become a gateway to Latin America.”

“Supporting the work and ideas of our city’s diverse community of entrepreneurs is key to putting Miami on the map as a global innovation hub,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “Black Tech Week will help bolster the strong community of black entrepreneurs who are contributing to the success of our city and build new bridges with tech leaders around the world.”

Timed with Black History Month, the week-long series of events will celebrate innovators of color, advance their work and help them connect to expand their networks and build impact. It will host discussions and explore ideas around how to grow black entrepreneurship and encourage the wider black community to move from being consumers of social media and technology to creators.

Participants will have a host of opportunities to connect and network with global entrepreneurs and investors, while attending sessions such as: Tapping into Africa with Tech, Startup Jamaica, Startup Haiti and Effective Strategies for Creating a Diverse Ecosystem. Additionally, the event will host a Women’s Innovation Brunch, a youth hackathon and a pitch competition that will allow sustainability entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas in front of potential investors. In addition, startup founders will visit classrooms during the week as part of an Hour of Tech partnership with Miami Dade Public Schools.

Discussions will be led by prominent global investors, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists including: Chinedu Echeruo, founder of online city transit guide, HopStop; Eric Osiakwan, InAngel Africa advisor, TED fellow, and investor; Justin Washington, quality assurance engineer at social media company, SnapChat; Brian Brackeen, founder of Miami-based facial recognition software company, Kairos; Ingrid Riley, founder of Jamaica-based tech networking company, Connectimass and organizer for Startup Weekend Jamaica; Stonly Baptiste, founder of Miami-based Urban.us that supports urban tech startups; Pandwe Gibson, founder of Miami-based EcoTech Visions, an incubator supporting green businesses; Jon Gosier, founder of market research and tech firm, Appfrica, tech investment company, Apps4Africa, and co-founder of big data company, MetaLayer.

Support for Black Tech Week forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and expanding economic opportunity. Over the past two years Knight has made more than 90 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.

In addition to Knight Foundation, Black Tech Weeks sponsors include Miami Dade College, Baptist Health, Kapor Capital, Accelerate Google, and Rooted Investments. Additional details about Black Tech Week, including the schedule of events, confirmed speakers and participants, and registration information can be found at www.blacktechweek.com.

About Code Fever

Code Fever is a community program committed to getting our communities up to code. The mission of Code Fever is to inspire more underserved minority students between the ages of 13 to 21 to code, build and create technology enterprises within their communities, close the gap in technology education, and become leaders in STEM fields by increasing the number of young startup founders. For more, visit www.CodeFeverMiami.com

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.KnightFoundation.org.

CONTACTS:

Felecia Hatcher, Code Fever Miami, 305-482-1832, Felecia@Codefevermiami.com

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908, 2677, media@knightfoundation.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

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