Bringing BlackTech Week to Kansas City for a day — and debuting the event series during Global Entrepreneurship Week — seemed like a natural fit, said Denayja Reese.
The Miami-based festival draws together black entrepreneur leaders who already are championing the startup hustle of their communities, she said. Powered by Code Fever, which was founded by Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson, BlackTech Week is in its fifth year visiting such cities as Philadelphia, New Orleans and Los Angeles.
It comes to Kansas City’s Robert J. Mohart Multipurpose Center on Nov. 16, the final day of GEW. Click here to register for or learn more about the KC event.
“[Felicia and Derek Hatcher are] big fans of Kansas City and they’re always telling me that part of what they love about going to Kansas City is that the community there — while it’s small and still growing — it’s incredibly strong and supportive,” said Reese, production and partnerships manager for Code Fever Miami. “We’re really excited to bring what we do into the fold and hopefully bring people together even more so than you already might be.”
Code Fever was founded in 2013 to provide youth and adult programming aimed at injecting innovation into black communities, she added.
“We really believe that the way that we can empower the black community is by supporting entrepreneurs, supporting black entrepreneurship especially, and now we’re kind of moving strategy of BlackTech Week, and really Code Fever, into affecting policy change,” said Reese. “So what we can do to work with government to really fully integrate some of these ideas and some of these different initiatives into government policy and really affect change on a larger scale.”
The Nov. 16 all-day event is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the City of Kansas City, Missouri.
“I think technology businesses exist in all different facets of our communities, whether it’s in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that hangs out at Plexpod or the businesses that are being created east of Troost,” Haynes said. “I think Global Entrepreneurship Week is our opportunity as a community to really just highlight the innovation that’s happening all over, so I think BlackTech Week really just contributes to what GEW is about any way,”
The idea is to curate conversations where everyone is coming from similar places, but each have solved problems or went about their business from different vantage points, added Reese.
“All the people on stage will be speaking from a place of true experience from themselves and not just kind of interviewing somebody about the work that they’ve done,” she said. “So you’re going to be seeing people having conversations about what it means to build a coworking space from the ground up, who has done it, and who’s done it in different states, and talking to each other about the challenges they face with true camaraderie.”