Black Tech Week started as a vision of serial entrepreneurs Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson, a married couple, in 2015 in Miami. It grew to become one of the largest gatherings of Black techies in the country.
After seven years in Miami, the conference is moving to Cincinnati, Ohio this year. Here are seven things to know about Black Tech Week’s relocation and the upcoming conference.
1. It was acquired by Lightship Foundation in March 2022
After spending six years under the leadership of Hatcher and Pearson, Black Tech Week was acquired by the Lightship Foundation in March. Candice Matthews Brackeen, Lightship Foundation’s founder and CEO, said she was “thrilled” to take ownership of the conference.
“Black Tech Week is a culturally historic event that innovators of color have converged upon for the last seven years to expand their minds, their networks, and their access to capital,” Matthews Brackeen said in a prepared statement. “I am thrilled to bring this conference to Ohio and provide thousands of Black techies throughout the Midwest the chance to attend.”
2. The Lightship Foundation serves underrepresented entrepreneurs and ecosystems
The Lightship Foundation describes itself as “an impact-driven organization serving remarkable entrepreneurs & ecosystems” on it’s website.
It works to “leverage corporate partnerships, specialized programming, meaningful mentorship, and capital investments to drive growth within the minority innovation economy. Lightship provides remarkable founders the resources and direction their businesses need to scale.”
The foundation offers three signature programs: the Accelerator, Bootcamp and Twitch Pitch for founders.
Based in Cincinnati, it also has a presence in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and aims to help founders across the Midwest.
3. The newly iterated Black Tech Week will have a different look and feel
Matthews Brackeen is married to Kairos founder Brian Brackeen, Lightship’s investor in residence. He tweeted that the conference would be a “completely re-branded, enhanced event” that “creates connections, opportunities, and forums for founders to connect with other founders, tech talent, programming and investors.”
The conference’s official description states it is “a minority-centered ecosystem-building festival that partners with founders, corporations and the community to create a valuable experience for investors, entrepreneurs, and techies of every kind.”
4. Black Tech Week will take place July 18-23, 2022
According to its website, Black Tech Week will take place July 18-22 at the Cincinnati Music Hall. It will feature an opening night celebration, a variety of sessions and workshops, founder and investor hours, accelerator panels, a career fair, and the opportunity to go to a Cincinnati Reds game, the Cincinnati Music Festival and the opera “Aida”.
Some of the topics covered will include: Fundraising On Your Own Terms, Legal Principals for Success, Optimizing Your Crypto Wallet, How To Build An App Without Coding, Minting Your First NFT Collection, PR & Media Matter, Data Rules Everything Around Me, and more.
5. The relocated conference will feature 70+ speakers and presenters
Black techies in various niches from across the industry will share their knowledge and experiences with attendees. Among them are former Black Tech Week owners Pearson and Hatcher, who are the CEOs of the Center for Black Innovation (CFBI) and the Black Ambition Prize, respectively.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 09: BlackTech Week
“Jamarlin talks to husband-and-wife team Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson about Black Tech Week, economic empowerment, and whether Silicon Valley is the global capital of white supremacy. “
For a full list of speakers, click here.
6. Matthews Brackeen said her goal is to inspire others to be great
“I would like for folks to see what it looks like when someone is high achieving, when someone can live to their greatest potential,” Matthews Brackeen told ABC9.
According to a press release about the conference’s acquisition, the city’s “leaders fully support the festival’s Cincinnati relocation, and offer ongoing support of Lightship and their minority entrepreneurship-focused economic development work in Ohio.”
7. Conference admission is $399 plus tax, with the option to purchase recreational add-ons
The five-day conference is $399 plus tax for those who wish to attend all sessions. As a title sponsor of the event, Kroger is sponsoring 25 percent off admission. Attendees are instructed to use the promo code “Kroger” to apply the discount.
To purchase tickets for the conference, click here.
PHOTO: An electronic sign advertising Black Tech Week at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Photo: Twitter / @BrianBrackeen