SXSW, MVMT50, Opportunity Hub Launch HBCU Initiative in Support of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative



Student Tech Entrepreneurs from Historically Black Colleges & Universities To Attend 2016 SXSW

March 8th, 2016, Atlanta, GA – The South by Southwest Interactive Festival announces a new partnership with Opportunity Hub, MVMT50 and several Historically Black Colleges and Universities to bring high potential student technology entrepreneurs to this year’s 2016 Interactive Festival, during the timeframe of March 11 – 15, in Austin, TX. This effort is designed to support President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which was launched to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.
This year’s inaugural cohort will maintain a rigorous daily itinerary in which the student entrepreneurs will maximize their opportunities to learn, network and engage with some of the world’s top innovators, entrepreneurs and investors. Students will participate in a Hackathon, attend SXSW workshops, panels, and conversations and pitch competitions; and network at events scheduled at The District of Columbia’s #WeDC House and the City of Atlanta’s #ChooseAtl House.
“SXSW Interactive is excited to be working with MVMT50 and Opportunity Hub on helping to bring more HBCU students and young people of color to Austin in March,” said Hugh Forrest, Director, South by Southwest Interactive Festival. “Exposing these entrepreneurs to all the opportunities for learning and networking that SXSW has to offer is important in their development as cofounders. These young HBCU entrepreneurs are likewise important in the continued development of SXSW as a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem for all. Initiatives such as this one are a strong step towards achieving the goal of a more diverse tech industry.”
2015 report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers explores the barriers that disadvantaged youth face, particularly young men of color, and quantifies the enormous costs this poses to the U.S. economy. In particular, this report focuses on the significant disparities in education, exposure to the criminal justice system, employment and access to opportunity that persist between young men of color and other Americans.
“My Brother’s Keeper is focused on expanding opportunity so all of our young people can build the skills and networks needed to succeed in the 21st Century economy stated Michael Smith, Special Assistant To The President and Senior Director for White House My Brother’s Keeper Task Force. “We commend SXSW, MVMT50 and Opportunity Hub for this exciting new partnership to advance this goal, providing a one-of-a-kind learning experience about innovation and entrepreneurship to students who otherwise may not have had this opportunity.”
Opportunity Hub, inspired by MBK, worked to encourage the innovation and entrepreneurial directors at many of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) to look at SXSW as an important opportunity to expose their students to tech, STEAM and startup ecosystem and the opportunities for internships, connections and mentorship.
“Early exposure to innovative environments, tech entrepreneurship and the opportunities it can provide as a software engineer, technical or business cofounder can be the difference maker in a person’s career and life,” said, Rodney Sampson, Chairman, Opportunity Hub; Chief, Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives, TechSquare Labs. “Long term, it allows entrepreneurs from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds to work on solving big problems which can lead to the development of high growth companies that create high growth jobs and can transform entire communities.”
At the time of this release, students from Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, Johnson C. Smith University, University of the Virgin Islands and Huston-Tillotson University are confirmed to participate.
“Morehouse College is committed to the development of our student cofounders and therefore is committed to sponsoring this initiative for our students to attend SXSW,” said Tiffany Bussey, Founding Director, Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center.
President Obama will give the opening keynote on this Friday.
About SXSW Interactive
The 23rd annual SXSW Interactive Festival returns to Austin from Friday, March 11 through Tuesday, March 15. An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the 2016 event features five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to discover the technology of tomorrow today.
Join us in March 2016 for the sessions, the networking, the special events, the 18th Annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards, SXSW Accelerator®, the SXSW Gaming Expo, the SXSW Trade Show, the SX Health & MedTech Expo, SX Create, The Job Market, cross-industry conversations with attendees from SXSW Film and SXSW Music, and, most of all, the unforgettable inspirational experiences that only SXSW can deliver.
SXSW Interactive 2016 is sponsored by Esurance, Mazda, Monster Energy, Capital One, Bud Light, Deloitte Digital, McDonald’s, Ten-X, United Airlines, Samsung and The Austin Chronicle.
About Opportunity Hub
Founded in 2013, Opportunity Hub (OHUB) builds diverse & inclusive end-to-end entrepreneurial centers and startups ecosystems from the ground up. OHUB entrepreneurial centers include 10,000 – 25,000 square feet of coworking, incubator and event space. Anchored in education, OHUB’s curriculum is focused on creating new software engineers, technical cofounders and angel investors of color. OHUB is also the vetted seal of authentic diversity and inclusion in the global startup ecosystem, capital markets and beyond. In October 2015, Opportunity Hub merged with TechSquare Labs, a 25,000 sq ft incubator, coworking and corporate innovation space anchored by a $25 million venture fund founded by Dr. Paul Judge and Allen Nance.
About MVMT50
MVMT50 is a coalition of Black thought leaders committed to sustained and systematic improvement in employment diversity, cultural representation and leadership development in the innovation, technology and digital sectors. MVMT50 represents a dimension of the 21st Century’s civil rights movement, with intent to expand opportunity, elevate the value of diversity and disrupt the traditional culture and practices associated with the innovation sector. Our partners and participants gather annually during South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive to connect, collaborate and build consensus around disruptive and innovative solutions to empower and elevate Black thought leadership.
Opportunity Ecosystem, 859  Spring Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30308
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