Media Coverage On #HBCUSXSW17
HBCU@SXSW gained national attention from several media outlets due to our impact on technological diversity.
“Tech leaders, pressured by criticism that their workforces employ fewer African-American, Hispanic and female professionals than other industries and far less than their increasingly diverse customer base, have been trying to recruit more African-American engineering students and young professionals. But progress has been slow. HBCU@SXSW organizer Rodney Sampson, an Atlanta-based tech entrepreneur and his wife wanted to take a practical approach: fund the next generation of engineers to attend one of the largest tech industry events in the nation, a nexus of thought leaders, investors and future colleagues.” – JARRAD HENDERSON, USA TODAY
“That’s the dance that Sampson wants to teach students at SXSW. The 100 selected came from among 400 applicants. He imagines the program as a leg up for students as well as a boon for tech companies — who can shop for talent among dozens of represented colleges in one place — and a revenue driver for Opportunity Ecosystem, which is developing its own entrepreneurship curriculum. Over three days, the students will get an intensive orientation to the tech world. They’ll meet with startup entrepreneurs, take classes in coding, film, media and using social media to engage political movements, and attend a recruitment breakfast with more than 50 tech companies. They’ll also receive an SXSW Interactive badge, worth $1,325 and which gives them access to hundreds of sessions and speakers.” – KEITH REED, NBC NEWS
Currently, African Americans and Latinos make up less than 5% of the tech workforce and Opportunity Hub aims to change that through SXSW’s history of inspiration, education and creating the right connections.
Last year, more than 50 student-entrepreneurs and faculty from HBCU’s across America were a part of SXSW. By bringing in hundreds of HBCU students this year, the leaders at Opportunity Hub believe that diversifying SXSW will diversify the innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment ecosystem for all. – JOHN KRAUSE, SXSW
“Businesses are built on relationships and referrals—the more people you know the better. The SXSW conference introduced HBCU students to leaders in the tech industry: recruiters, engineers, entrepreneurs, marketers, and executives.
During sessions, we learned about internship programs companies offer, when to apply, and how to stand out.
We also learned about industry trends, such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and hardware technology becoming more integrated into everyday life beyond the use of just our phones and computers.
Through networking with each other and professionals, we built key connections that could lead to opportunities now and in the future.
Without opportunity, diversity and entrepreneurship, our society would remain stagnant. HBCU@SXSW offered students like myself the opportunity to learn new things and meet industry leaders in technology.” – KRISTEN SHIPLEY, via LINKEDIN
At the South by Southwest Conference, Morgan also expounded upon Huddle Ventures, a newly-launched parent company for Opportunity Ecosystem and a future angel fund. Morgan is working with other Managing Partners Michael Peterson, a former business development professional at Hewlett Packard and IBM, along with Rodney Sampson, serial entrepreneur and Partner at TechSquare Labs, which is an Atlanta-based technology hub and venture fund.
According to Morgan, the trio’s current priority is Opportunity Ecosystem where they leverage capital and resources to impact underserved communities, such as fully-funding 100 students from HBCUs and PWIs to experience SXSW. Morgan said that by he and Peterson partnering with Sampson, they “didn’t have to reinvent the wheel with what he was already doing.” – MARK J. BURNS via Sports Illustrated
“Thanks to the HBCU@SXSW initiative, 100 students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities earned a unique opportunity to attend the festival in Austin. That’s double from the previous year. Students from a mix of institutions like Howard, Tuskegee, FAMU, and Fisk were in attendance.
Many of them study computer science, cyber security, and digital media. The students were exposed to various careers and connected with mentors, available to answer their questions all while enjoying the perks of SXSW.
The success of this program is a launch pad for future all-stars ready to take center stage in tech. Invest in the future.”
– Tyler via ThePlug