Opportunity Hub is moving forward with a two-day virtual “Black and Hired” experience from its Atlanta headquarters after Coronavirus concerns prompted the cancelation of SXSW — where OHUB planned to spotlight members of its Kansas City cohort.
Canceling the SXSW festival — which was expected to draw more than 400,000 to Austin over two weeks — is set to have a profound impact on OHUB, representatives confirmed this week, noting the organization likely will lose more than $1 million in sunk costs from the planned, but now defunct, in-person 2020 gathering.
A fundraiser to help defray costs is now under way on GoFundMe. Click here to view the campaign.
OHUB programming was scheduled to launch Monday in Austin, heavily featuring the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, KC.UP and the Civic Council’s KC Global Design Group, among such global brands as Twitter and Deloitte.
The event was also set to showcase the five final companies in the OHUB.KC cohort — which each were awarded $50,000 for making it to the end of the accelerator — during a special demo day at SXSW.
Click here to learn more about the OHUB.KC companies and the process through which they won tickets to SXSW.
A March 27 event in Kansas City is planned to serve as a hometown celebration of the OHUB.KC cohort — including KC-based PlaBook and Boddle, one Startland News’ Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2020 — though it remained unclear Friday whether the gathering would proceed as previously announced amid growing Coronavirus fears in the metro and calls to cancel or postpone social and business events.
EDCKC, a significant backer of OHUB.KC, announced on Friday the postponement of its annual event (formerly the Cornerstone Awards), which had been planned for late April.
Click here for updates on the March OHUB.KC event.
On Thursday, Mayor Quinton Lucas declared a state of emergency in Kansas City, Missouri — adding words of alarm and caution as a wide-range of businesses began ordering workers to transition to home offices and organizations announced the rescheduling planned events.
Some prominent gatherings like 1 Million Cups Kansas City and Creative Mornings now are on hiatus, and STARTLAND’s March Innovation Exchange has been tentatively rescheduled to May 7.
Back in Atlanta, OHUB’s Black And Hired experience — which began virtually Friday — remains a key part of the organization’s effort to immerse black and Latinx students from across the nation in opportunities surrounding mentoring, networking and hiring.
While more than 500 students were accepted into the program and set to attend SXSW on scholarships, access to the virtual experience is open to all 1,500 applicants, as well as a global audience. Capacity is for 10,000 participants.
Click here to learn more about the Black and Hired virtual experience.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.