Mississippi App Guru Sheena Allen to Appear in New Documentary ‘She Started It’
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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Women create only 3% of tech startups, receive less than 10% of venture capital funding, and run only 4% of Fortune 500 companies.

Those are the opening words to the trailer for the upcoming documentary She Started It by French journalist Nora Poggi and Insiyah Saeed, a journalist and documentary producer based in Silicon Valley. The film will focus on women tech founders in the U.S. and Europe and aims to highlight successful role models for young women, to encourage more girls toward entrepreneurship in the technology industry.

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Now enter Sheena Allen, founder of Sheena Allen Apps. Despite her eponymously-named app, when it comes to tech founders, she’s completely off the radar. She says so herself.

“I am a triplewhammy when it comes to tech. I’m female, I’m black, and I’m southern,” says Allen, 26, who double majored in film and psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. “I have a southern accent so just imagine–when I’m in Silicon Valley they are like ‘Who are you and where are you from?’ [I guess] you are just not supposed to be from Mississippi and create a tech company with 2 million downloads.”

But while she doesn’t fit the mold of the average tech founder, she’s also breaking barriers outside of being a black founder. Black Enterprise host Paul Brunson said it best on his #MentorMonday Spreecast: “Sheena Allen is the exception to EVERY rule when it comes to creating a tech company.”

First, she’s a woman in a world of companies founded by men. Next, she’s a solo founder when most tech companies have two or more. She’s nontechnical, when most tech founders have a background in computer science or some type of coding experience. She hasn’t raised any money from investors and she didn’t attend an Ivy League school.

But what she has done is launch a company, which has been profitable right out the gate. The filmmakers saw her speaking at the Lean Startup conference and asked if she would be willing to be a part of the film. Even though they were wrapping everything up, they decided to add Allen after hearing her story and learning about her six apps and millions of downloads.

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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, SocialWayne.com 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 BlackEnterprise.com 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 BlackEnterprise.com 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.

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