Tech hubs are popping up all over the country. Who needs Silicon Valley when there is a hub right in your backyard? In addition to running his company Candid, a platform that tracks and monitors business health, 2016 Code2040 Entrepreneur-in-Residence Thomas Stovall found time toÂ create a burgeoning tech ecosystem,Â ImBlackInTech,Â servicing the Chicago community.
Stovall recently chatted with Black EnterpriseÂ about his startup endeavors and why he felt that this community was very much needed. Â
Before we jump into the interview, here’s what we know. #ImBlackInTech is dead set on helpingÂ diversify Chicago’s startup ecosystem and creating jobs for the community.Â The company recently partnered with Chicago 1000, a branch of an organization called Global 1000, who made a commitment to create 1,000 jobs for minorities in addition to granting them access to capital.Â
Attendees heard talks from community leaders including Ray Lewis, and speakers, Jeff Hoffman, the co-founder of Priceline, Phyllis Newhouse, a cybersecurity expert, and 12-year-old CEO Ian Michael Brock, recently featured in Forbes for his flourishing nonprofit.Â
The evening was curated by founder, Dr. E. Lance McCarthy, a nationally recognized economist, who is committed to helping blacks in Chicago–and across America–find funding for companies that boast innovation.
Over the course of several days, tons of programming took place that included everything from Black Pitch Sessions to VIP receptions.
Delivering “A Black Tech Element”
When asked about their partnership, Stovall replied, “Global 1000 decided to come to Chicago and activate here. They wanted to bring a black tech element to their event so prior to their hiring fair that happens on a Saturday, they reached out to us and said, ‘we’d like to partner on Thursday and Friday on a couple of events that bring together leaders in the community.’â€
“We brought together 100 leaders that are powerbrokers in Chicago across finance, legal, government, city, tech investors, people that are philanthropists, and we had billionaires in the room. It was all focused on breaking down barriers and getting people from various backgrounds and ethnicities together to build and focus on growing their business while supporting the community,â€ said Stovall.
It’s amazing to see all of these cities progressing because each one is so ripe for innovation. For more information on the ImBlackInTech membership program, in addition to Stovall’s company Candid, watch the full-length interview below.
Sequoia Blodgett is the Technology Editor for Black Enterprise, Silicon Valley. She is also the founder of 7AM, a lifestyle, media platform, focused on personal development, guided by informed pop culture.