Opportunity Hub returns to SXSW to unlock access to opportunities in tech, entrepreneurship, and investment for minority students with flagship program HBCU@SXSW

Opportunity Hub returns to SXSW to unlock access to opportunities in tech, entrepreneurship, and investment for minority students with flagship program HBCU@SXSW


Today, The Tech Sector Workforce is Mostly White Males—Less than 2% are African American and Less Than 2% are LatinX American; These Statistics Represent The Need for Authentic Diversity, Inclusion and Equitable Opportunity and Opportunity Hub is Leading The Charge

MailChimp teams up with Opportunity Hub as Lead Sponsor of HBCU@SXSW; National Sponsors Include Comcast, Capital One, Chick-fil-A, Facebook, Oculus, Spotify, Deloitte, Snapchat, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Microsoft, Twitter, Kauffman Foundation

#ohubhouse  #hbcusxsw18

ATLANTA – (February 27, 2018) Opportunity Hub (OHUB) is set to return to South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival for the third consecutive year with its flagship HBCU@SXSW program. The early exposure and recruitment initiative for African American and LatinX college students will take place March 9-12 in Austin, Texas. This year, the lineup of events has increased to include more than 50 speakers across three venues, six official SX panels, nine dedicated student recruitment events, the 4th Annual Innovators and Investors VIP Reception & Dinner, and #OHUBHouse—the first-ever inclusive tech, startup and blockchain house at SXSW.

“By 2053, the average net worth of an African American family is projected to be zero,” said Rodney Sampson, CEO of OHUB. “We can and must work to disrupt these statistics at scale by ensuring that minorities from socially disadvantaged communities are exposed, educated, trained and provided access with definitive opportunities to build a high demand career in tech, launch and grow a high growth startup company, and create multi-generational wealth.”

With over one thousand applicants from more than 200 schools, OHUB selected 125 students from 60 schools to attend this official SXSW event. The program aims to provide students with access to unknown spaces and firm recruitment opportunities through a fully immersive experience with the interactive technology on display at SXSW, leading tech companies, investors and influencers. In 2017, 90 percent of the students who attended HBCU@SXSW received paid summer internships, apprenticeships, or full-time positions.

Over the weekend, more than 50 speakers will be featured including Celia Edwards Karam (Capital One), Timnit Gebru (Microsoft), Brian Bracken (Kairos), Janice Bryant Howroyd (ACT-1 Global), Rodney Williams (Lisnr), Kei Henderson (21 Savage), Rodney Bullard (Chick-fil-A), Sheena Allen (CapWay) and many other top experts and influencers from across different industries that are directly engaged in the innovation economy. Official SX panels will cover topics from hacking racial bias in artificial intelligence, to creating safe work spaces for millennials of color, and mining, trading and building blockchain companies.

Headliners performing in the #OHUBhouse include DJ Scream of Hoodrich Entertainment and Young Guru, best known for his work with Jay-Z.  

In line with its commitment to improve inclusion and diversity in the tech sector, MailChimp has partnered with OHUB as the lead sponsor this year.

“MailChimp is thrilled to partner with Opportunity Hub through its HBCU@SXSW program to promote diversity in tech at SXSW,” said Chimére Faison Barnard, Diversity and Inclusion Talent Scout at MailChimp. “We recently collaborated with Opportunity Hub to launch #ATLTechRiseUp to attract and retain more diverse talent for tech jobs in Atlanta. HBCU@SXSW is one of the best opportunities for us to cultivate these meaningful relationships by sharing access to MailChimp and the tech community with talent in untapped minority demographics. In 2017, at HBCU@SXSW we were able to connect with some of the brightest and most driven talent from across the country, and we can’t wait to engage at a more prominent level this year.”

Other national sponsors include Comcast, Capital One, Chick-fil-A, Spotify, Facebook, Oculus, Spotify, Deloitte, Snapchat, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Microsoft, Twitter and Kauffman Foundation.

“As part of our continued commitment to diversity at all stages of the pipeline, Capital One is proud to sponsor HBCU@SXSW to help expose more students to career opportunities in tech,” said Mark Mathewson, Managing Vice President, International and Small Business Technology at Capital One. “In addition to supporting their overall experience at SXSW, we’re excited to connect directly with HBCU students at the #CapitalOneHouse for several events, including our ‘Elevating Blacks in Tech’ panel discussion on March 10.”

For more on HBCU@SXSW please visit www.hbcuatsxsw.co  and follow us @ohubatl @hbcuatsxsw.

About Opportunity Hub

Opportunity Hub (OHUB) was co-founded in 2013 by Rodney Sampson as a follow up to the highly successful Kingonomics’ conferences in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC. Prior to a 2015 merger to create TechSquare Labs, the Atlanta-based organization grew to become the largest multi-campus entrepreneurship center and technology hub in the United States specifically focused on diversity and inclusion as a business thesis for the development of high demand technical talent and high growth startup companies. To scale its current work to date, OHUB is building a suite of collaborative and interconnected blockchain technology products, programs and partnerships with corporations, tech companies, foundations, government agencies and entrepreneurship-led ecosystem building organizations globally. For more information, visit www.opportunityhub.co .

About Rodney Sampson

Rodney Sampson is an accomplished technology entrepreneur with two exits, a venture fund investor, selective advisor, inclusive ecosystem builder and four-time published author. Passionate about closing our nation’s racial wealth gap, Sampson co-founded Opportunity Hub in 2013 and built it into the largest minority owned, multi-campus entrepreneurship center, co-working space, pre-accelerator and code school scholarship fund. Via a 2015 merger, Sampson joined Dr. Paul Judge to launch TechSquare Labs, a 25,000 s/f work space and $15 million venture fund. To date, TechSquare Labs’ portfolio companies have raised over $250 million in venture capital, are worth over $1 billion, generate $75 million in recurring revenue and have created over 750 high growth technology jobs throughout Metropolitan Atlanta and beyond. Today, as Executive Chairman & CEO of Opportunity Hub, Sampson is focused on scaling its suite of collaborative and interconnected technology products, programs and initiatives to further strengthen its position the company as the world’s leading inclusive ecosystem building technology, education, entrepreneurial development and investment platform. Sampson previously served as the 1st Head of Diversity at Mark Burnett Productions, executive producers of the hit ABC show, ABC’s Sharktank.


Corey Smith, Early Exposure Lead



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Opportunity Ecosystem Announces HBCU@SXSW 2018 Call for Student Applications & Corporate Sponsors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Opportunity Ecosystem Announces HBCU@SXSW 2018 Call for Student Applications & Corporate Sponsors

ATLANTA, June 15, 2017— In tandem with the holiday that commemorates the abolition of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth, Opportunity Ecosystem’s HBCU@SXSW 2018 will officially launch its call for student applications and corporate partnerships on Freedom Day, Monday, June 19th. Students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and participating LSAMP Predominantly White Institutions desiring to attend SXSW, gain an increased exposure to the innovation economy and connect with technology recruiters and startup entrepreneurs can apply at http://www.hbcuatsxsw.com.

Since 2015, HBCU@SXSW has exposed high potential technical and non-technical students from under-tapped backgrounds (African American, Hispanic, and Native American) to career possibilities within technology, and high growth inclusive entrepreneurship, while promoting long-term wealth creation as well. 100 students from 41 colleges and universities attend in 2017. NBC, USAToday, LinkedIn, Black Enterprise, Campus Lately and more provided media coverage.

The initiative is held in Austin, Texas at SXSW, the country’s premier festival for interactive, film and music, held March 9th to 18th. The third annual HBCU@SXSW will be held from March 6th to 12th during SXSWedu and SXSWInteractive. The event has a $1.5 million budget with a per-student cost of $3,000.

“Four years ago, my wife, a Howard University graduate, and I were at SXSW attending a VIP investor event. We realized that we were the only black people in the room and decided that early exposure to these unknown spaces was critical to increasing authentic inclusion in the innovation economy. So it was her idea to introduce HBCU students with access to the world we live and thrive in as early as possible,” says Rodney Sampson, Founder & CEO, Opportunity Ecosystem.

“Every day we’re seeing multi-generational wealth being created in the technology and startup world that has no reliance on access to pre-existing multi-generational wealth. Black and Latino must build her.”

The application is open to students from under-tapped backgrounds who are studying at an accredited institution at the undergraduate or graduate level. Applicants attending HBCU, HSI and participating LSAMP Predominantly White Institutions are encouraged to apply.  

Now under the leadership of Corey Smith, #HBCUSXSW18 promises to be larger and more engaging than ever. Over the course of one week, college administrators and students will attend official workshops and panels sponsored by partnering tech companies, as well as networking and curated culinary experiences promoting tech careers, startup entrepreneurship and wealth creation. They will also be exposed to highly-respected entrepreneurs, business leaders, technologists of color, and investors from around the world. Past speakers include Founder & CEO of Act-1 Group, Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African American woman to own a billion-dollar company, John Hope Bryant, Founder & CEO of Operation Hope, Van Jones, Founder & CEO of Dream Corps and #YesWeCode and billionaire Steve Case of AOL and Revolution Fund. A #DiversifySXSW House and #YesWeCodeFund Fundraiser are planned.

Past sponsors include more than 32 tech companies and Fortune 100 companies such as Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Mailchimp, Delta Air Lines and Booz Allen Hamilton.

“HBCU@SXSW and OHUB@ offers companies authentically committed to recruiting the best and brightest technical and non-technical talent scale in their initiatives to recruit from colleges and universities that are intentional about exposing, educating and engaging their high potential students with access today to the opportunities of the future”, says Corey Smith, Early Exposure Lead, Opportunity Ecosystem.

The ultimate goal is to bring 1,000 of the most diverse people on the planet to SXSW. 500 students and 500 influencers that will go back to their respective cities and launch chapters of

OHUB at their respective campuses, corporations, and communities.

Opportunity Ecosystem

The brainchild of Rodney Sampson, Opportunity Ecosystem promotes inclusive innovation, entrepreneurship, investment and wealth creation through a four-pronged approach: early exposure, education and training, ecosystem building and capital formation. HBCU@SXSW is an Early Exposure initiative of Opportunity Ecosystem. Learn more at http://opportunityhub.co/.


Started in 2016, HBCU@SXSW is a partnership between Opportunity Ecosystem, Huston-Tillotson University and SXSW that exposes traditionally under-tapped college students to possibilities within the technology sector, whether in technical or non-technical roles. The program includes notable business leaders, technologists, and investors as well as panels and student sessions. Learn more at http://hbcuatsxsw.com/.


Established in 1987, SXSW is an annual conglomerate of conferences and festivals that highlight music, film and the interactive. The event includes more than 60,000 registrants and showcasing artists from over 100 countries. SXSW 2018 will be held in Austin, Texas from March 9th to 18th, 2018. Learn more at http://hbcuatsxsw.com/.


Corey Smith, Early Exposure Lead