Black talent in tech set to shine at Twin Cities summit

Submitted photo Mike Jackson, founder of Black Tech Talent

The first Black Tech Talent (BTT) Summit is happening right here in the Twin Cities from June 11-13, 2021.

With the leading tagline, “Find a resource. Be a resource,” Black Tech Talent is a Minnesota-based organization that focuses on inclusivity and opportunity as it pertains to the Black community in the tech field.

While 2020 posed many barriers, in the past year-and-a-half Black Tech Talent has been the recipient of the Inclusive Evolution Award from the Minnesota Startup Awards; the Community Impact Award from Twin Cities Business Magazine; and just this past April they were awarded the Beta Showcase, from startup accelerator Beta MN.

“The reason why it’s important for us to do the summit now is, a lot of students are now getting out of school and they’re going to be looking for work and opportunities to network,” said Mike Jackson, founder of Black Tech Talent. “Also, with coming out of the pandemic and things opening up again, it’s an opportunity for Black technologists to fellowship, be able to network, have conversations and talk about the ups-and-downs of what has happened over the last year.”

The Black Tech Talent Summit will be three days of robust resources, activities, and events; some happening in the virtual space and some in-person focusing on topics like Routes to the Tech Field, Diversity & Inclusion, Robotics, Investor Relationships, and Employee Retention, to name a few.

Day one of the summit is entirely virtual and includes the keynote speaker and educational sessions. “We have all of the educational portions online. We don’t want [participants] to miss out on learning and panels and the recruiting and introductions that will be made,” said Jackson.

Featured presenters for the summit include local television personality Robyne Robinson, Brown Venture Group, and more. “Brown Ventures is a $50 million venture capital fund focusing on Black and Brown tech founders,” shared Jackson.

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Day two of the summit centers around networking with a happy hour event held at Moxy in Uptown. This is the only adult-only event.

Day three is a demo day that includes a showcase of Black-developed technologies as well as a pitch competition. “A lot of great innovators came out of this pandemic so we have a demo day that will be at Creator’s Space and we’re showing off different technology built by Black people,” said Jackson.

Jackson has received overwhelming support not only from community but partnering organizations and event sponsors like Prime Digital and Granicus, as well as the Star Tribune who awarded Black Tech Talent the Star Tribune Connect Grant.

In June of 2020, CNBC data revealed major tech companies including Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter, saw only single-digit percentage growth of their Black employees after a six-year period.

Jackson said he believes it is important to have events like the Black Tech Talent Summit to help address these types of gaps that are common in tech.

“The goal is to provide this event for the community to network, for people to get hired. To also show different corporations that there is Black tech talent both locally and nationally,” he shared.

To learn more and to register for the Black Tech Talent Summit visit: accelevents.com/e/blacktechtalentsummit.

This event is $20 or $5 if you join the Black Tech Talent Slack community.

About Tiffany Johnson

Tiffany Johnson is a contributing writer at the MN Spokesman-Recorder. She can be reached at tjohnson@spokesman-recorder.com.

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