The University of Memphis made a major announcement on Thursday to empower up-and-coming Black tech entrepreneurs.
The university’s Center for Workplace Diversity in partnership with the Black Business Association of Memphis, and Community LIFT received more than $700,000 from The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).
The administration states that the grant will be used to hire more people who will be responsible for raising capital funds aimed at promoting equity. In addition, the grant will be used to hire a fund director and training coordinator.
The announcement was made on Thursday during the 2022 Computer Science for ALL Summit in Graceland, Tenn., for tech leaders and educators. Reportedly, leaders in the community hope the funding will uplift Black-owned tech businesses to further address the need for more underrepresented minorities to enter and operate in the workspace. During the three-day conference, four young teens took the stage and combined art and technology by choreographing a dance and coding the lights for their performance.
“I felt the need to combine my love for science and dance,” 14-year-old, Kayla Jean-Baptiste, an aspiring professional coder, told FOX 13.
The conference also hosted a series of conversations that focused on making the computer science field more equitable and sustainable.
“Computer Science for All is a national and even global movement to make sure that youth live in a digital world and can navigate that fluently,” Leigh Ann DeLyser, executive director of the organization told FOX 13.
“It’s not an accident that they take everything they know and build the next generation of technology.”
Memphis nonprofit, Code-Crew, also raised awareness during the conference surrounding the importance of a diversified tech industry.
“When you only ask one person one question, you only get that. But when you open the floodgates and you bring in minorities, you bring in women, you bring in kids sometimes, it appears completely different,” Audrey Willis, co-founder of the nonprofit told FOX 13.