Dell And Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce Host Pre-SXSW Welcome Reception
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Dell representatives LaToya Collins-Jones and Belinda Matingou flank an attendee who won a Dell laptop (Images: Clark Patterson)

The Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce kicked off a pre-South by South West (SXSW) reception last night to welcome black techies and entrepreneurs who have flown in from across the world for Austin, Texas’ massive film, music, and technology conference.

Amidst the sophisticated ambiance of the III Forks Seafood and Steakhouse restaurant, more than 60 chamber members and constituents of SXSW’s black tech elite gathered with executives from the event’s sponsor, Dell Computers. In the background, Dell showcased a number of new products and played video from Black Enterprise Magazine‘s Small Business Technology Makeover, featuring The Clean Dog, an Atlanta dog groomer who received all new Dell hardware.

“Austin is very attractive to a diverse audience. I’m excited to be partnering with Dell for this event,” said CCAACC President and CEO Natalie Madeira Cofield in her welcome address. “Dell is a major Austin institution. It has been a catalyst for helping to attract additional tech companies to this area. As a chamber that is looking to support black tech entrepreneurship, having a relationship with them is very important. Our relationship with them further demonstrates their commitment to diversity in Austin and beyond.”

At the CCAACC SXSW pre-reception Natalie M. Cofield speaks about the unique qualities of Austin, TX for people in technology.

Austin is one of the youngest cities in America, with an average age of 32. It’s been listed as one of the top two centers for IT startups and the venture capital community in Texas is one of the largest in the country, Cofield remarked. Because of these attributes, as well as the CCAACC’s strategic relationships with companies like Dell and institutions such as the University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business, she believes Austin is probably the most viable destination for young black tech startups.

In attendance at the CCAACC event, were young black entrepreneurs like Chris Bennett from social e-commerce startup;  Cheryl Contee of Fission Strategy, which helps nonprofits with social media, and NewMe Accelerator participants Wayne Sutton and Hajj Flemings. The latter two are hosting the launch of Flemings’ Gokit at SXSW on Sunday.

The CCAACC has partnered with a number of large tech companies including Samsung, HP, and Dell, hosting receptions and forums about how to do business with these corporate titans. Austin is quickly becoming the epicenter of technology development in this country, and Cofield wants to make sure black startups get in on it.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.