What you missed at Black Tech Week #BTW23

Black Tech Week returned to Cincinnati to connect tech entrepreneurs, investors and professionals to education, resources, opportunities — and one another! This year featured 3,000+ attendees, 100+ speakers and 50+ workshops. This year’s gathering featured speakers and attendees across various verticals and industries, not just tech.

Black Tech Week 2023 launched with an intriguing conversation between Adam Phillips, Managing Director at Techstars, and Dujon Smith, Co-Lead Black Founders Development Program & Senior Manager at Accenture, about bridging the gap in Black venture capital. 

The wisdom from this conversation is answered by the simple question: what is the most common differentiator that keeps BIPOC businesses from landing that venture investment? The answer: investors are seeking long-term returns on investments, and that not only has to be evident in the numbers but also heard in the narrative from the founder.

One of the most captivating founder narratives came from Dawn Dickson’s talk titled “A Serial Entrepreneur’s Guide to the Pivot” – as a Black woman in tech, Dawn Dickson, Founder, and CEO of Popcom, has seen it all in her 20+ years entrepreneurial journey. She shared how to leverage your unique skills to design the life and business you desire while staying true to yourself. She also shared details on how she made the global shift and expanded her entrepreneurial ventures to real estate in Ghana. 

Black Tech Week wouldn’t be the premier event it is without bringing to the forefront the latest technology and innovations with both high growth and deep impact. AI, as an emerging field and technology, is growing faster than any of us could imagine – especially with the amount of data that is being collected to create it. Systems such as ChatGPT or Google Bard are being produced and growing more intelligent daily. However, chatbots have been found to repeat racist, sexist, or violent rhetoric. These algorithms, while being helpful, can also be harmful. What we know is that AI is going to continue to grow, but how can we make the use ethical and cause more good? 

Nicole Alexander, the Head of Marketing at Meta and a Professor at NYU along with Ajay Bam, Endeavor Scale-Up Entrepreneur and CEO at Vyrill, an AI video marketing platform, discussed the implications of AI. Ajay and Nicole discussed the growing role of AI in our society and how to create and use AI responsibly. They gave insight to the question: what role do we as users and creators hold in making responsible AI? As creators, the team at Vyrill is creating responsible AI by training machines to help brands and retailers capture, understand, and leverage video reviews for insights in commerce.

One of the greatest entrepreneurial takeaways at Black Tech Week was from Felicia Hatcher who engaged in a dialogue that explored what genius is and how we can all unlock and unleash our genius to the world. Felicia Hatcher is the CEO of Black Ambition Opportunity Fund, a Venture Capital Firm that invests in diverse founders through capital, mentorship, and access to resources. Hatcher is also the co-founder of Black Tech Week. 

The Endeavor Midwest Team concluded this year’s Black Tech Week with an Entrepreneur Happy Hour hosted at Second Story bar in Covington, KY. Our guests were welcomed into the space with a Rabbit Hole Old Fashioned thanks to the generous support of Endeavor Portfolio Company Rabbit Hole Distillery and Endeavor Entrepreneur & Board Member, Kaveh Zamanian. In true Endeavor fashion, we achieved our goal by cultivating a space for our network of entrepreneurs and investors to connect & reconnect with the idea of transforming economies through the power of high-impact entrepreneurship–thank you to all the people who came out to support Endeavor & Black Tech Week and we look forward to connecting even more next year!

Be on the lookout for more impactful and engaging Endeavor Stories from our network of entrepreneurs, investors, and board members.