March 10: Cool Opportunity Hub Content

SXSW is proud to be working with the Atlanta-based inclusive ecosystem building company and technology incubator Opportunity Hub to help bring 125 students from 60 HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) and minority serving institutions to this year’s event. In addition to organizing this large delegation of students, Opportunity Hub has also helped to put together a half dozen sessions at SXSW on Saturday, March 10. Listed in chronological order, these six panels are as follows:

Hacking the Racial Bias in Artificial Intelligence (9:30–10:30): Silicon Valley is inserting its biases into nearly every technology we use. According to an October 2017 Motherboard article, In 2015, a Google Photo algorithm auto-tagged two black friends as “gorillas,” a result of the program having been under-trained to recognize dark-skinned faces. Learn from experts in artificial intelligence & machine learning what is being done to ensure that people of color and other demographics are being adequately included in the tech positioned to drive tomorrow. Sat, March 10 in JW Marriott Salon 3.

Solutions for Hiring Top Minority Tech Talent (9:30–10:30): Tech companies say they are looking for top minority tech talent but don’t know where to look. Simply stated, they should talk to the HR and university relations experts we’ve curated that are doing what it takes to build the most authentically diverse companies on the planet. Attend this panel and you will also meet and interact with the 100+ minority students that are coming to SXSW from over 50 colleges and universities. Sat, March 10 in JW Marriott Salon 4.

Building Safe Workspaces for Millennials of Color (11:00–12:00): Current diversity and inclusion initiatives are having slow traction in lowering the high turnover rates for underrepresented tech employees at a cost of $16 billion annually. Despite lofty salaries, young professionals of color are struggling to navigate their identities in large companies where they often feel like the the leadership does not look like them. What are solutions that can help engage and retain high-performing diverse talent? What happens after they get in the door? Sat, March 10 in JW Marriott Salon 3.

Blacks on the Blockchain (12:30–1:30): In June 2017, Storj Labs, a decentralized cloud storage provider, launched a Token Sale that was set to end on June 19, 2017; but only one week after launching, Storj met its goal of $30 million. A couple of weeks later in what may have been a first for a digital health company, Blockchain-based electronic medical record startup Patientory raised $7.2 million in 3 days. Both co-founders of these startups are black & in Atlanta. Learn the opportunities for minorities in crypto and blockchain from industry experts. Sat, March 10 in JW Marriott Salon 3.

Black Entrepreneurship Beyond Music and Sports (3:30–4:30): Ask the everyday person to name three very successful black entrepreneurs that are not in sports or entertainment. Most people don’t know any; and because of this reality, black entrepreneurs experience the impact of pattern matching, especially in the innovation, entrepreneurship and investment sectors. Yet, even before the Emancipation Proclamation, black entrepreneurs have existed. Learn this untold United States history. Meet some iconic black entrepreneurs. Reboot your mind to help all entrepreneurs thrive. Sat, March 10 in JW Marriott Salon 3.

Trap Goes Tech: A Case Study (5:00–6:00): Trap Music is here to stay. It’s everywhere and seems to be permeating every aspect of global culture and living. Sounds familiar. So is tech. What does the intersection of technology and trap music look like. We will explore some real live examples of this phenomena in what promises to be a very interactive and engaging conversation. Sat, March 10 in JW Marriott Salon 3.

Click here to view the full schedule of Opportunity Hub activities at SXSW 2018. Also, be sure to attend the HBCU Battle of the Brains event during SXSW. Finally, see demos from lots of great startups at the Pitch Black: The Future is Female competition organized by MVMT50 on Sunday, March 11 at 3:30 pm in the JW Marriott.

You must have a SXSW badge to attend programming at the JW Marriott.

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.



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