African American(T)

African American(T)

African Tech Conference Makes a Large Splash in Paris


Sequoia Blodgett, Yinka Adegoke, Claude Grunitzky, Larry Madowo, Chayet, Chienin

The founders of Afrobytes, Ammin Youssouf and Haweya Mohamed, held their second annual conference at the Medef in Paris this past June 9th and 10th and Black Enterprise was there to witness it all.

Talks ranged from, How to Connect the New African Consumers with Smarter Brands to Making African Fashion Global to What’s Next in African Tech.

Haweya Mohamed and Ammin Youssouf Haweya Mohamed and Ammin Youssouf (Image: file)


The media has been known to depict Africa as a continent with very little innovation but this is far from the case. There are entrepreneurs like Nigerian-born, Chris Folayan, who have managed to build platforms such as the Mall for Africa, a shopping app that offers Africans access to over 200,000 U.S. and UK retailers through a very seamless and worry-free process.

With their secured partnership with eBay, the company has been able to serve Nigeria, and recently Kenya, with plans to roll out to 11 new countries including Angola, Botswana, and Tanzania.

In February, a $326 million funding round (comprising Goldman Sachs and AXA Insurance) in e-commerce company Jumia Group (formerly Africa Internet Group) created the continent’s first $1 billion startup unicorn, according to TechCrunch. Their representative, Group CMO, Fatoumata Ba, sat alongside of Folayan during the “How to Connect the New African Consumers” discussion to talk about how innovation is changing the landscape.

Chris Folayan, Fatoumata Ba, and Edith Brou Chris Folayan, Fatoumata Ba, and Edith Brou (Image: File)


The universal consensus across the board during each conversation was owning the narrative and not letting others—who do not directly relate to the continent—depict its stories and perceptions.

“Marketing, branding, and storytelling are so important especially when branding African brands. We have to own the narrative. We have to tell the story as we want the world to hear it… I think the next wave of African designers are going to be super tech savvy, marketing gurus and so on because they are coming here (Europe) to get trained,” said Sissi Johnson, brand strategist and fashion tech advisor. “Once their training is done they are taking their skill sets back to Africa to start their brands.”

Isabelle Moisy-Cobti, Sissi Johnson, Chekwas, Okafor, Ella Peinovich Isabelle Moisy-Cobti, Sissi Johnson, Chekwas, Okafor, Ella Peinovich (Image: File)


Posted by Afrobytes on Friday, June 9, 2017


There was also quite a bit of talk about content creation and how to do it smart given the broadband restraints on the continent, during the “Smart Content for Smart African Millennials,” panel, which I moderated. In the states, we focus highly on video content creation whereas Africa feels the new wave of content creation and distribution may be center-focused around apps like, WhatsApp because of its low data usage, early adoption, and easy access.

Sequoia Blodgett, Yinka Adegoke, Claude Grunitzky, Larry Madowo, Chayet, Chienin Sequoia Blodgett, Yinka Adegoke, Claude Grunitzky, Larry Madowo, Chayet Chiénin (Image: Afrobytes)


It will be interesting to see where it all goes but from the looks of it, it seems that African entrepreneurs are hell-bent on repositioning the narrative and changing the perception of the continent through, content, design, and innovation.

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Powerful Tech Influencers Descend Upon Haiti


Sequoia Blodgett/Christine Souffrant Ntim, Carel Padre

The Haiti Tech Summit jumped off to a flawless start June 6, at the Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa. The conference was flooded by individuals from all parts of the world but comprised mostly of an amazing mix of Silicon Valley and Caribbean entrepreneurs making up a crowd of approximately 400-plus people. Speakers included executives from leading tech companies including Uber, Facebook, Google, and Airbnb.

The first day kicked off with a powerful keynote from venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, a Silicon Valley notable and the co-founder of the well-respected firm, Andreessen Horowitz. Fascinated by the Haitian culture, his talk unveiled a historical flashback to the Haitian Revolution as he compared Toussaint L’Ouverture’s leadership style and his ability to reignite culture as a Haitian leader to that of building startup cultures from the ground up.

Horowitz states that keeping what works, creating shocking new rules, incorporating other cultures, and making decisions that demonstrate priorities, is the key to creating a dynamic startup culture, which are the same rules that L’Ouverture used to reprogram the mindset of the Haitian people.

“If you go into Facebook one of the big signs on the wall says, ‘Move Fast and Break Things.’ He’s creating a rule that says, ‘I want you to go so fast and innovate so much that I don’t care if you break things.’ That’s my priority. That’s what’s important to me. I’m creating a rule that’s going to make you think about that every second of every day,” said Horowitz.

Ben Horowitz (Image: File)


Other chats included “Entrepreneurship in the Global Startup Ecosystem,” consisting of a powerful panel of five action-driven females: Angie Carrillo, Asra Nadeem, Adi Abili, Kerstin Karu, and Shaina Silva who act as regional directors for the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and America. The goal of this group is to utilize each member’s resources to create innovation universally.

Sequoia Blodgett From right to left: Christine Souffrant Ntim, Angie Carrillo, Asra Nadeem, Adi Abili, Kerstin Karu, and Shaina Silva (Image: File


From the perspective of Africa and innovation, Silva, regional director of the Global Startup Ecosystem in Africa, spoke about why there is a collective movement to make a change on the continent. “The government is shifting their mindset around entrepreneurship. They are creating programs that allow students who graduate to get funding, resources, and training to become entrepreneurs.”

“As an enabler, my role has been to connect the dots. I’m Haitian-American living in Nigeria. I’m bringing the perspective of another emerging market suffering from similar challenges. I can bring the perspective from Haiti into Nigeria and vice versa.” These are the types of learnings that each director hopes to collaboratively implement into their different ecosystems.

My panel included players in the media space from The New York Times, Fast Company, Inc. and top Haitian publications. Our discussion took a deep dive into the future of media focusing on mobile growth and development, how to create cross collaboration, the purpose of creating original content, and how to meet the consumer where they are, in terms of digesting content.

Sequoia Blodgett, Lisa Godman, Wanda Tima-Gilles, Carel Pedre The Future of Media Panel – From Left to Right: Jetry Dumont, Wanda Tima-Gilles, Lisa Godwin, Steven Suthiana, Carel Padre, Sequoia Blodgett (Image: File)


Closing the evening out was a very noteworthy conversation that was translated from French to English, coming from the President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, who vowed to assist in the process of funneling education around technology in order to generate new socioeconomic growth.

For Christine Souffrant Ntim, founder of Haiti Tech Summit, the goal is to keep this conference going for the next 13 years as she feels that, that is the time span needed for ultimate change. “Haiti is a very young country with over 50% of it being millennials,” said Moïse. “We are counting on them to be the changemakers.”

Jovenel Moïse President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse (Image: File)


With this being the first annual Haiti Tech Summit, it is definitely off to a great start.


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Michelle Obama Takes Part in Fireside Chat at Apple’s WWDC Event


First Lady Michelle Obama

Patently Apple reports that Michelle Obama was part of a fireside chat with Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson at Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC).

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced Obama to the stage. According to Patently Apple:

Their hour-long discussion touched on Obama’s post-White House life, diversity in tech and not falling down the stairs of Air Force One.

“Who are you marketing to? Who do you think is going to use these apps? If women aren’t at the table, you’re going to miss my dollar. Because you don’t really know me,” Obama said, according to clips of the talk posted on social media.

Obama urged the audience to make room for women and people of color in technology. Silicon Valley continues to struggle with diversity, a topic that was back in the spotlight Tuesday with news that Uber had investigated 215 harassment claims and fired 20 people. 

Apple’s five-day conference is currently underway at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. At the kick-off of the event, Apple announced several new additions and updates to its product portfolio including:

– An all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro and a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

-A new Augmented Reality platform for iPhone and iPad that uses the the built-in camera, and motion sensors in iOS devices.

The ability for Apple Pay users to make and receive payments with friends and family.

A “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature to silence texts during driving.

For the complete rundown of the new Apple features and products announced at WWDC, check out Apple’s Newsroom.



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Boz Is the Wonder Woman Uber (and Diversity in Tech) Needs Now


Before likely even stepping a high-fashion shoe into her office at Uber as the company’s new Chief Brand Officer, Bozoma Saint John is already enacting change.

(Image: Facebook/Bozoma Saint John)


Consider how barely six months ago many people of color and women were promoting #deleteUber. This call to action was in response to what was perceived as Uber’s callousness in allowing its drivers to pick up passengers stranded in the nation’s airports while taxi drivers protested President Trump’s “Muslim ban.”

Or, how rankled the internet community was when a former female Uber engineer blogged about wanton sexual harassment and an atmosphere of general disrespect toward women at the ridesharing service.

Now, take a look at comments on Twitter about Boz’s move to Uber:

People are excited about Uber again, well…Uber and Boz, at least. Especially women and particularly women of color.

Uber has been shrouded in a swirling miasma of bad publicity that it’s almost exhaustive to recount it all. Such bad press takes a drastic measure to combat—indeed, a heroic effort of rebranding. And Uber has found its hero in Saint John, a “Wonder Woman” of marketing.

Saint John has done the impossible. By being the antithesis of the stereotypical Silicon Valley denizen (and a damn good marketer), she has jettisoned herself into the spotlight as one of the most high-profile women in Silicon Valley.

(Bozoma Saint John on the cover of the January/February 2017 edition of Black Enterprise Magazine)


For those familiar with the Valley, there is recognition of the Silicon Valley “look.” Besides being white (or Asian) and male, even the women there all have a uniform of sorts. People take great pains to be non-flashy; think of the Mark Zuckerberg casual look of jeans, hoodie, and comfortable shoes.

And Saint John has blown that stereotype wide open. She’s proven to be a savvy tech executive and embraces her culture and her inner diva. High-heels, bold colors, not one to shy away from baring a little cleavage—is it any wonder she made them squirm when she stole the spotlight at Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference last year?

Many may speculate on why Apple let Saint John go. Surely, Cupertino is capable of counteroffering whatever carrots Uber dangled to lure her away. But in some respect, the move makes sense for a woman who seems to love a challenge.

In fact, it’s plausible that Saint John may be too larger-than-life for Tim Cook’s quietly, and fiercely self-contained Apple. Her effervescence may be much more effective in eclipsing Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s boisterous antics such as berating an Uber driver when the driver complained about some of the company’s practices when Kalanick was his passenger.

Kalanick is almost Steve Jobs-esque in his vision, his tempestuousness, and his sometimes downright obnoxiousness—a trait of Jobs that was so well-documented in the late CEO’s biography by Walter Isaacson.

Jobs would probably have appreciated Boz’s unconventionality and her success in product branding. She is poised to turn Uber’s bad press around, as well as the notion of who we think of when we think of Silicon Valley. That would make her not just Uber’s Wonder Woman but a superhero in forwarding the cause of diversity in technology.


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The Women in Tech Group That’s All About Action


Sista Circle

Recently, I became a part of a women in tech group called Sista Circle. Now, I am a part of a lot of tech groups and normally what happens is you get a slew of emails via a list serve, some great, some not so much and that’s about the extent of it but this group is different. They are actively about that action.

Sista Circle was created by Alexandria Butler aka Lexi B., who holds the title of project manager at Airbnb, in an effort to give black women a safe space to connect, network, fellowship, and give/seek support from other black women.

Alexandria Butler Image: Kanoa Utler/Alexandria Butler


As quoted from the Sista Circle’s Facebook page, “While our Diaspora is full of depth of diversity, ideologies, beliefs, and cultures, it is important for us to come together (even if only virtual) and share our love and support for each other.”

Black Enterprise caught up with Butler to find out why she felt the need to create such a strong Afrocentric and women-focused tech group and what her plans are to propel the group forward in the future.


BE: What is your background in tech?

Lexi B: I have been in the tech world my whole career as a program manager, managing projects, and programs in the fields of engineering, finance, marketing, legal and compliance.  


BE: What are some of the backgrounds of the women in the group?

LB: They are all working at tech companies or for nonprofits that support tech. We do have a few students who are new to the group and interested in the tech industry.


BE: Why did you feel that creating the Sista Circle group was necessary? There are tons of online tech groups, what makes this one stand out?

LB:  There are many fantastic resource groups, especially for marginalized groups and I am a member of them. But I felt as though there was something lacking from these groups—a genuine connection between people coming together. I wanted to create a safe space for black women to not only develop genuine relationships but have deep conversations that go past the usual, “where do you work?” and “I am looking for a job.” I think those conversations are very important as we all would like stable employment, but I want to go past those surface level facts and just get to know inspiring and powerful black women.

I also wanted a space where we could talk about our concerns and possible fears in this very competitive and sometimes jarring industry. It is easy to feel out of place and lonely in a world like Silicon Valley where everything changes so quickly.


BE: What results are you seeing out of the group that have had a direct impact on the circle and community?

LB: Currently, the group has over 400 members and is growing very rapidly. I have to admit that in the beginning, I did not know what would happen. As more members were added, I started organizing pop-up events around the Bay Area for women to meet in person and build meaningful connections. I think this group has the potential to impact our community through unification and just pure fellowship.  

I am from the Midwest and I was raised in a community where fellowship provided so much stability. The ability to come together, discussing the latest reality television episode or the latest presidential debate. The ability to brainstorm professional goals and personal relationships. There is something intrinsically powerful about fellowshipping with black women. The professional networking is just a small piece of this group. I am receiving messages and emails from women who are appreciative of the new friendships they have made and fitness groups they have created. Also, this group has become a great landing page for black women new to the tech world and Silicon Valley. It is a place to meet people who are experiencing similar professional journeys and allow them to come to the table as their unique selves without judgment or bias.


BE: What are your long-term goals for the Sista Circle?

LB: The long-term goal is to have chapters throughout the world because I am a strong believer that Silicon Valley is not the only place with tech communities. The tech world is sprouting everywhere and I want black women to be connected to all of these geos. If we could produce social events in different cities and bring women together under this common foundation, it would be ideal.


BE: If a woman was interested in getting involved, how does she gain access to the Sista Circle?

LB: Simple! To gain access, just follow this link and answer the short questionnaire. We want to make sure this is a safe space for black women in tech. Once you are approved, introduce yourself to the group and start connecting. Add a link to an article that interested (or appalled) you this morning. Give us your thoughts on something that happened at work. RSVP to an upcoming event or plan an upcoming event for the Sistas in your city.  



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FlyTechnista Is Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead


(Image: Instagram/FlyTechnista)


As the founder of FlyTechnista—an online platform seeking to “bridge the gap between women and girls and access to education, resources, and career and entrepreneurship opportunities in technology”—TeLisa Daughtry breathes life into the phrase, “Don’t complain; contribute.”


(Source: YouTube, User: Entrepreneur)


The self-taught developer combined her experiences in tech with her passion for creating economic opportunities for women to build a platform that now has connections with over 800 partners in the global tech ecosystem.

BLACK ENTERPRISE sat down with Daughtry to find out more about what inspired her to start this initiative. Daughtry also discussed what changes need to happen within the tech industry, and how she is working toward making these changes happen via her company, FlyTechnista.

“When I started to build, I knew that I would not be able to solve every problem in tech with just one product. So, I started with the issues that affected me the most—specifically, being a woman in tech,” Daughtry explains.

“I spent the last eight years mentoring women, youth, and people of color. I knew equipping them with technical skills, but not providing them with access to career opportunities, was a problem. So, I started to connect people within my circle to education and career opportunities,” she continues.

“I also recognized women that wanted to begin their journey in tech, but they had no idea how to do so, or where to look. There was an overwhelming amount of information and resources online, but there wasn’t a centralized place [for this information] to exist,” Daughtry says.

“I realized that more women and companies seeking to be more gender-diverse or inclusive could benefit [from a centralized informational resource], if there was an actual product [that could offer this]. So—I built it! I also knew that female founders receive significantly less VC funding, compared to our male counterparts. So, I vetted and built relationships with funders, [who were] committed to investing in women-led ventures,” she says.

“Considering the lack of engagement with women and girls in STEM, I created STEEAMnista; an initiative of FlyTechnista that helps increase the participation, visibility, and leadership of women across S.T.E.A.M. [science, technology, engineering, arts, and math],” she explains. “In September 2016, we were invited to participate in former President Barack Obama’s #CSforAll initiative, where we committed to engaging 5,000 students across five U.S. cities: New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Oakland, CA. The following November, we kicked off our first STEEAMnista Summit, with the support of Samsung, and plan to do it again. Our next STEEAMnista Summit will be held on November 11, 2017.”

“Complaining doesn’t change things,” Daughtry says,”[but], actionable plans with solutions do!”




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Black Tech Entrepreneurship Expands Outside of the U.S.


Haiti Tech Summit

There is a lot of black tech entrepreneur buzz and innovation happening not just in Silicon Valley’s ecosystem but outside the United States.

There is a ton of noise coming out of the African continent, but what about other largely populated black epicenters? Herein lies the Haiti Tech Summit. This summit is taking over the Caribbean and bringing major power players along the way.

The Haiti Tech Summit is the brainchild of Christine Souffrant Ntim who is one of the most ambitious entrepreneurs to cross into the technology events space.

After Souffrant Ntim created her startup Vendedy in Dubai, she spent a short stint in Silicon Valley observing the culture and took her learning back to the island.

Image: Chrsitine Souffrant Ntim and Carel Pedre (Image: Haiti Tech Summit/Christine Souffrant Ntim and Carel Pedre)


There, she created the Haiti Tech Summit. With a small team, they were able to pull speakers including Ben Horowitz, the co-founder and general partner of the acclaimed startup fund, Andreessen Horowitz, Vicky Jeudy from Orange is the New Black, and even the president of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse.

President of the Republic of Haiti, Président Jovenel Moïse (Image: President of the Republic of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse)


Souffrant Ntim also runs an online digital startup accelerator for global entrepreneurs from Africa, America, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. “Silicon Valley is a great hub and a great example of innovation in tech,” says Souffrant Ntim, “but there are other examples that really could transform how people look at innovation within their own countries.”

With all of these power players involved, Black Enterprise had a sudden onset of FOMO. We couldn’t miss this monumental occasion, so we will indeed be in the building. I will be there speaking on the future of media and its journey from print to digital, which ironically is a topic that was touched upon during our recent Gary Vee fireside chat visit to VaynerMedia.

Sequoia Blodgett (Image: Haiti Tech Summit/Sequoia Blodgett)

If you are interested in watching the Haiti Tech Summit, you can tune into the Facebook Livestream here.

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Gary Vee Holds Fireside Chat with Minority Entrepreneurs [Video]


Gary Vaynerchuk, Sequoia Blodgett, Charles Cole, Cliff Worley, Ruben Harris, Allie Felix, Thomas Knox, Mike Tauiliili, Muhga Eltigani, Dave Salvant, Terry Oppong, Lafe Taylor, Lamar Wilson

Recently Gary Vaynerchuk, aka Gary Vee, an American serial entrepreneur, four-time New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and internationally recognized internet personality, sat down with a room full of minority entrepreneurs to drop some gems and figure out where he could help.

Before we jump into the round table discussion that this meeting sparked, below is the list of the extremely diverse group of participants:

Cliff Worley Previously the chief digital officer for Daymond John and currently digital engagement director for Kapor Center for Social Impact, the epicenter of social impact startups developing tech-based solutions to real world problems. Instagram enthusiast. IG: fiscalcliff

Allie Felix Previously marketing manager for Draper University, a startup boot camp and a crash course in business and entrepreneurship and Silicon Valley’s top entrepreneurship program founded by Tim Draper. Felix recently relocated to NY for marketing consulting.

Thomas Knox Founder of Date While You Wait, a popular event bringing human interaction and connection to New York City, using creative and innovative methods. The concept went viral. Knox is currently scaling to other cities and using social media to drive traffic.

Mike Brown A former Indianapolis Colts player, Brown is the founder and CEO of Win-Win, an online platform where sports fans can compete in games to win epic experiences and amazing prizes from their favorite pro athletes, all while supporting charitable causes.

Charles Cole Founder of Energy Convertors, a resource for underrepresented minorities dedicated to enhancing the failing education system.

Ruben Harris Co-Founder of Breaking into Startups, a platform that features inspiring stories of people who broke into tech from non-traditional backgrounds.

Dave Salvant Y Combinator graduate and founder of Squire, a mobile app that allows you to book and pay for a haircut in just three taps. IG: getsquire

Muhga Eltigani – Founder of NaturAll Club, the first fresh fruit hair product line. Named one of this year’s Forbes “30 Under 30 in Retail and E-commerce.”

Terry Oppong – Partnership Manager for TED Conferences’ TED Global 2017. Co-founder of Chalé Tours, which offers travelers a different perspective of Africa.

Lamar Wilson and Lafe Taylor – Co-founders of Hijro a distributed ledger platform that enables the transfer of trade assets to provide working capital solutions for organizations by connecting to financial institutions.

Everything was discussed from the hip-hop culture’s influence on entrepreneurship to how Vaynerchuk could assist in the growth process of a lot of the endeavors presented. The chat was actionable indeed. Peep the entire session below. Special thanks to Maribel Lara, Gary Vee and VaynerMedia for hosting the Black Enterprise community. We’ll have to do it again sometime soon.


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Ne-Yo to Sponsor Kids Summer Coding Camp for Underrepresented Youth



(Image: Twitter/@NeYoCompound)


Entertainer and rapper Ne-Yo is sponsoring a summer coding camp in San Francisco that is tailored to children from low-income families.

Eight students will be selected from an open, online application process, to attend the program for free for three weeks. The camp will take place at the Holberton School of Software Engineering—a progressive school that lets graduates pay their tuition after they land a job. Previously, Ne-Yo assisted in raising $2.3 million in funding for this unique program, which Holberton first announced in February.

Tech mentors will lead the instruction. Students will build their own websites and learn critical web programming languages, including HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. They will also visit Silicon Valley tech companies, including Airbnb, Google, and LinkedIn.

“There are so many kids out there wondering what they can do to make their mark, wondering how they can succeed, especially in a supercharged area like San Francisco and Silicon Valley,” Ne-Yo said, via the press release. “By bringing these kids in, [and] showing them how much fun they can have—how much they can learn—I think we will [be] giving them a great leg up.” Ne-Yo has also recently joined the school’s Board of Trustees.

“What better way to see if you like something, than to try it? Indeed, that’s the philosophy of the school: ‘Learning by doing.’ Many kids who live in the Silicon Valley ironically don’t even know what software development is, but there are great jobs out there begging to be filled,” said Sylvain Kalache, co-founder of Holberton, in the same released statement.

“Holberton students come from all walks of life—from musicians, to a cashier at Trader Joe’s, to high school graduates. After Holberton, they end up working at top Silicon Valley companies, like Dropbox and LinkedIn. But, they also save the world from asteroids with NASA, [where one of the students actually interned]. Our students are dreaming really big, and I am sure that one of them is the next Bill Gates.”

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BE Study Guide Series: Spotting Trends and Opportunities in Tech [Video]


Tunisha Walker, Senior Vice President, Capalino & Company, James Andrews, CEO, SMASHD Ventures, Esosa Ighodaro, Co-founder & President, COSIGN

Using insights gleaned from the BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Summit, the previous segment of our BE Study Guide Series focused on how small businesses can best leverage technology to support their marketing, finance, and press efforts, and ultimately grow as a company and brand.

Now, we will address how small businesses and startups can utilize current trends in technology to increase their potential success, based on takeaways from the Entrepreneurs Summit panel “Spotting Trends & Opportunities in Tech,” which included Esosa Ighodaro, co-founder and president of COSIGN; James Andrews, CEO of SMASHD Ventures; and Tunisha Walker, senior vice president of Capalino & Company.


Watch the Entire Session Here:


(Source: YouTube, User: Black Enterprise)


Takeaway 1: When considering where technology is headed, The Third Wave, by author Steve Case, is a great reference point.


During the session, Andrews describes each tier mentioned in Case’s book as follows:

“In the first wave, we built the internet. In the second wave, we built the mobile app. The third wave is the idea that we are living in this era of the ‘ubiquitous web.’”

He then poses the question, “How do you solve for tomorrow’s ‘X,’ if you don’t know [what] tomorrow’s X [is]?” Elaborating further, Andrews says that he sees a trend around solving real-world problems, not necessarily only first-world problems in the tech space.


Takeaway 2: The government is catering contracts to minority- and women-owned enterprises.


“It’s surprising that a person that is a minority is not certified,” Walker says.


Takeaway 3: Alternative forms of funding are readily available.


Look for alternative ways to fund your business, and consider applying for grants or using equity crowdfunding.


Takeaway 4: Influencer marketing is a game changer.


“You find people who match the brand’s story, and you target their audiences through social media,” Ighodaro says. This tactic is not only popular with larger conglomerates, but smaller mom-and-pop shops have found success leveraging the power of influencer marketing, as well.

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