Meta is remaining committed to uplifting and supporting Black-owned businesses.
In the first-ever Meta Elevate HBCU Hackathon, the company had an event that allowed computer science and engineering students to get hands-on experience working side by side with Meta engineers and employees as they take care of real-world problems faced by Black-owned businesses.
“Black-owned small businesses have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic with higher closure rates and lost sales,” said Irene Walker, Meta Elevate Program Director, in an interview with AfroTech. “In an effort to help solve the problems these businesses are facing, we’re excited to kick off the Meta Elevate HBCU Hackathon. We’re excited to partner with HBCUs to provide an opportunity for students to join us in creating solutions to support Black-owned small businesses.”
In a recent Global State of Small Business Report, Meta shared that the upcoming holiday season will test the overall strength of the pandemic recovery for Black-owned businesses. Throughout the Hackathon, students from various HBCUs were able to meet directly with various small business owners to not only understand the issues they’re up against but help them work toward a solution.
“This was my first ever hackathon and participating in the process felt like a huge step in my journey to becoming a software engineer,” continued Nasir B., a Morehouse College student. “I feel more confident in my ability to work with a team, receive mentorship and work under a deadline and I appreciate Meta for the experience.”
Leveling The Playing Field
When it comes to Black ownership and wealth, the door isn’t always as open as the world tends to think it is, which is why initiatives like Meta’s HBCU Hackathon are vital to helping to create opportunities within the Black community.
“Hackathons build community by bringing together diverse backgrounds to solve problems. The Meta Elevate HBCU Hackathon empowered students to work with Meta employees, and solve problems for Black-owned small businesses,” Meta Hackathon Program Manager, Neta Retter, explained to AfroTech. ”The students who participated exemplified leadership and empathy to make real change for businesses who needed support, while gaining valuable skills and experience for their future.”