First Black-focused tech festival in MN set for Nov. 20

Submitted photo Mike Jackson

Black Tech Talent (BTT) is a Minnesota-based technology organization dedicated to creating opportunities for Black people in the tech field. BTT was started by Founder and CEO Mike Jackson.

Since 2020, the organization has been the recipient of four major awards including the Inclusive Evolution Award from Minnesota Startup Awards in 2020 and the MN Cup Award for the Impact Ventures Division in 2021.

Black Tech Talent also recently celebrated the onboarding of now 70 corporate partners—including Netflix and American Express.

This Saturday, Black Tech Talent will be hosting the first-ever Black focused technology festival in the state of Minnesota called Community TechFest. With the tagline “Imagine the Possibilities” the event is created as a groundbreaking interactive experience and welcomes people of all ages.

This event will include a plethora of interactive technologies and activities including virtual reality, eSports, a hackathon, robot racing, robot building and more.

“We have some robot-building with Legos for the younger end of the spectrum, we have educational robots that are interactive and talking, and go through activities like, ‘Would You Rather?’ We’re having a hackathon on Saturday and a coding competition,” Jackson shared.

The event is presented as a way to expose the Black community to the latest technologies and resources but also as a way to support the myriad of challenges that Black families come across in the technology space, that is largely unfamiliar. “We want to expose Black people to different products and technologies that are out there but aren’t advertised to us. They’re not marketed to us,” Jackson said.

The exhibits at the Community TechFest are geared intentionally towards driving engagement and resources that individuals and families can use to encourage their next steps in the tech field.

“We want to make sure that through all of the activities, there will be an educational part where the parents can talk to the exhibitor,” Jackson said. “And they [exhibitors] can tell them where to buy, for the kids or how to get the items donated, or how to interact, or what the [child’s] career trajectory could be.”

Black Tech Talent is also expecting an appearance form Mayor Jacob Frey as they host a conversation about STEM initiatives in Minneapolis. Folks who attend will also witness an exciting grand reveal of what Black Tech Talent has been working on behind the scenes.

“I think we’re going to blow some people’s minds with what we’ve been doing,” Jackson said.

Community TechFest is Saturday November 20, 2021 from 12–4:30 pm CST at Minneapolis Community & Technical College. General admission starts at $9.99. To purchase tickets visit: https://fb.me/e/1QEb5Ot8e.

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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