Monday, November 14, 2011

Black in America 4

Tonight the latest edition of Black in America premiered.  This edition told the story of the NewMe Accelerator and it’s participant’s 9 week journey to seek funding in Silicon Valley.  I was one of about 200 people who were able to attend a special viewing of the show, as well as participate in a post-program discussion.  The event was hosted by Mario Armstrong at UMBC.

The Show
This edition of Black in America focused on the 9 week journey of 8 entrepreneurs into Silicon valley to get funding for their startups.  All 8 startups were lead by black founders and 2 of the startups had black female founders.  The show not only talked about the struggles of fundraising in the valley, but the added complexity being a minority added to the equation.  It covers a lot of interesting ground and sheds a lot of light on what goes on when founders try to raise money for their ventures.  Right now minorities are underrepresented in Silicon Valley for a number of reasons.  The best way to change this is to get jobs there, and create successfully businesses there.  One of the issues is that to be accepted there you have to be successful elsewhere first.  So it’s up to us to “create” a way into the valley.

I think everyone should watch the show, not only those interested in technology.  There are a lo of relevant points made that can apply to a variety of different industries.

The post program discussion consisted of a 6 panelists discussing some of the questions brought up by the show.  The panelists talked and brought up some good points.  Here are my big takeaways from their discussion.
  • Build your network
  • Find a mentor
  • Be comfortable, being uncomfortable
  • Take on step towards your goal each day
  • Solve a problem
  • Make sure your product is newsworthy
  • Be passionate

Discussion topics briefly covered during the discussion.
  • The role of education
  • Expanding the educational influence of technology
  • Funding practices in the Valley
  • Defining a new Silicon Valley
  • Whether or not funding is needed
  • Disruption and Innovation
  • What’s getting funded
  • Technology centers outside of Silicon Valley
  • Government programs aiming to support entrepreneurs

I think overall this was a wonderful event, especially for a budding software developer/future entrepreneur as myself.  It was good to see people who have similar interests gathering together to discuss how we can bring about change and create a new future for those coming after us.  We need more events like this. There are lot of us out there, we just need a way to find each other. We have the power to create our own tech centers, with our own innovations. We don't always have to be the top consumers, we can create. As Mr. Terry Jones said, "The promised land is wherever you want it to be."

EDIT: The webcast is available here.  If you want to check out some of the twitter conversation check out #biaLIVE...

1 comment:

Mario said...

Thank you so much for an awesome post! Ohh and the archive of the video is up: