5 Things We Learned At AfroTech16

#1 We are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For

The theme of the conference perfectly captured and affirmed what so many hungry Black tech entrepreneurs yearn for! With a powerful lineup of speakers that included  Zim Ugochukwu of TravelNoire, Apps without Code Founder and CEO Tara Reed, and LISNR’s confident Founder Rodney Williams, audience members were reminded that failure is a must on the road to greatness, AND they reminded us that you do not have to have been born into a legacy of privilege (or attend Stanford or Harvard) in order to achieve it.

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#2 Passion First, then Money

Focus on your solving an issue that you are passionate about and money will come! For those of us who are stuck on how to move ideas to implementation, panelist reminded us that it is important to focus on solving ONE problem you are passionate about. People are not always going to be onboard with your vision, including potential investors and that’s ok!

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#3 BLACKGIRLMAGIC does exist!

Morgan, Mandela, Zim, Quinta B, Jessica Matthews, Erica Baker and Tara Reed are just some of the incredible Black women in attendance that reminded us just how magical Black women are! It is not only their individual accomplishments, but it is their ability to celebrate and lift others as they climb they make them fabulous leaders. As the industry continues to be male heavy, these ladies are holding it down for Black girls!

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#4 REPRESENTATION IS A BEAUTIFUL THING!

Many of the attendees at the conference were college students, some of which have it figured out and others honestly shared they were simply here to learn and gain a deeper understanding of the tech landscape. Recent studies have alluded to the powerful hold Black millennials have on the internet, with Blavity no doubt spearheading that movement.  #Afrotech16 gave attendees access to people creating that experience, people who shared similar struggles of hardship such as Frederick Hutson, Founder of Piegonly, who was able to use his experience from being formerly incarcerated to leveraging technology to allow families to stay connected to their loved ones behind bars.

#5 THERE IS AN ABUNDANCE OF BLACK TECH TALENT!

With over 650 people in attendance it was clear that there is in fact a great number of talented Black techies that many companies have chosen to ignore. This conference demonstrated that we are force to be reckoned with, so while companies choose to ignore our talent we will continue to build and transform the landscape thus the world!

Article by Bie Aweh

Co-Founder at HBCU to Startup