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Flow, Blockchain Created By Dapper Labs, Announces $1M Token Grant Program For Black Developers And Creators

FLOW, the blockchain created by Dapper Labs designed to be the foundation for a new generation of games, apps, and the digital assets that power them, has announced a new grant program to bring Web3 diversity to the forefront. In a blog post, it was revealed that the company is currently accepting applications “for Black developers, platforms or creators looking to build large-scale dApps and create innovative experiences on the blockchain.” FLOW also announced its $1 million grant. “In addition to the Token grant, recipients will receive promotional and customized support from a team and network of experts including technical, design, product, and marketing,” read the blog post, which also makes it clear that this is in addition to its other initiatives in celebration of Black History Month. “This grant is one step in FLOW’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment for all people to join the ecosystem and that it is a true representation of our diverse world” The company has...

Udacity Follows Through On Pledge To Build Stronger Pipeline Of Black Tech Talent

Last year, online learning and talent platform Udacity announced the launch of a free scholarship program that pledged to help emerging Black techies develop new tech skills for their careers. Today, the company has announced the completion of said pledge that’s working to build a stronger pipeline of Black tech talent in the industry. According to a press release, Udacity — which uses its platform to power the careers of the future — has declared that its Pledge to Equality Scholarship program has helped 730 recipients complete more than 1,100 projects as part of their coursework and hired seven graduates as company interns across different departments. The scholarship program was initially launched to offer free Udacity Nanodegree programs to Black communities across the U.S. The company also arranged to host a virtual career fair featuring seven different companies and contributed over $1 million to cover the cost of these free Nanodegree programs for learners. According to...

Njera Perkins

Jul 14, 2021

ClipDart Is The Mobile Barber Service Black Students At PWIs Have Been Waiting For

When Kyle Parker began attending a predominantly white institution (PWI), he quickly realized that getting a decent haircut would be a challenge. In his predominantly white college town, there were no Black barbers. In fact, the closest Black barber was two hours away by car. The ordeal seriously impacted his mental health as he wasn’t able to look and feel his best. He also realized that other Black students were probably facing the same challenges, so he began dreaming up a solution. “Being African-American, I didn’t have the option to walk down the street to my favorite, affordable barbershop while attending Grinnell College in Iowa. The barbershop was a large part of my culture that was missing and became a factor in why I transferred after 3 years. Wherever I decided to attend, I had to have an equal chance to a great barber as most of my classmates. I knew it would tremendously help my mental health,” Parker told AfroTech. He eventually transferred out of Grinnell College but...

Colleen Williams

Jun 27, 2021

Google Addresses Diversity Gap In Tech With Its Largest Financial Commitment To Date For HBCUs

Google is committed to investing in the future of tomorrow’s Black leaders and professionals, and its latest initiative is directly addressing the diversity gap in tech. Today, the tech giant has announced a new $50 million grant for 10 chosen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to help fund scholarships, invest in technical infrastructure to support in-class and remote learning, as well as develop curriculum and career support programs for these students. “As Google’s Chief Diversity Officer and an HBCU alum, I am proud to continue our long-standing partnership with HBCUs and help provide Black students with access to opportunities in tech,” Melonie Parker told AfroTech exclusively over email. “This work is deeply important to me and the amazing talent, unique perspectives and lived experiences of these students embody the true meaning of diversity. This grant will help to fund the important work needed to further prepare students for the tech industry.” HBCUs have...

Njera Perkins

Jun 17, 2021

Creative Careers in Tech: Sr. Practice Manager Michelle Bozeman Finds Joy In Building Professionals at Amazon

After nearly two decades at Microsoft, Michelle Bozeman has proven that she gets things done. Since joining Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2019, she’s done just that in her role as a Senior Practice Manager. Officially embracing a new phase of her career, Michelle’s found a role that both challenges and inspires her as she develops consultants at Amazon. “My position today is in professional services. I manage a team of consultants that are early in their careers. I manage a program that is meant to grow them into more senior consultants, and I started doing that with college hires. That led me to a passion that I have mentoring and growing people, which led me to AWS,” Michelle says. Understanding that there’s room for everyone to win, since joining AWS, Michelle says her greatest achievement has been “seeing people grow.” As a manager and mentor, Michelle has been instrumental in developing a new generation of tech professionals . “Watching them come in so unsure of the position,...

Cecilia Austin

Mar 5, 2021

Careers In Tech: Amazon Web Services Engineer, Makho Ngazimbi  Shares How To Secure A Job in Tech 

There are many paths to success in tech, but the most notorious is software development and engineering.  We want to introduce you to Makho Ngazimbi, a software development manager with Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services helps businesses scale and grow by offering secure cloud services on its platform along with database storage and more. Makho’s team of engineers is responsible for making sure that the operating system is distributing to all the data centers. Makho spoke with Will Lucas at AfroTech about his journey into tech and what he wants other Black professionals to know when venturing into the field. One of the proudest responsibilities that Makho has is in recruiting Black engineers into tech. Resources like Amazon’s Black Employee Network have allowed him to be hands-on in recruiting, retaining, and even advancing Black talent in engineering. “There’s a lot of programs that I am really proud of and [recruiting] is actually a huge passion of mine,” said Makho. If...


Nov 5, 2020

Black Woman-Led Tech Company Launches Two Digital Platforms to Lead Big Tech Market

Black women in tech are coming after big tech companies to be the new contenders in the market. Parent company Urrgent Technology — led by founder Shantell “Charisma” Graham — recently announced a huge launch into the big tech market, unveiling two inaugural digital platforms — StoopUp and — according to a press release . StoopUp — a free social networking app that allows users to create a digital “Neighborhood” based on shared and given support from others — and — an online platform for freelancers that creates more opportunities for people of color — are both a part of Graham’s mission to uplift underserved communities and push consumers to accrue economic wealth in the sector. “We’re not reinventing the wheel but we are headed in a more positive direction for the end-users, said Graham in a press statement . “Two separate platforms – each bringing a conscientious, user-first standard, because we have to work and uplift each other as a whole.” According to...

Njera Perkins

Sep 8, 2020

These Black Women are Reshaping the Future of Tech for College Graduates

Black professionals in any industry have faced their challenges trying to fit into spaces that weren’t designed for us. So, it’s always great to see young, successful Black entrepreneurs paying it forward by creating opportunities for people who look like them – starting with the youth. For Black college students interested in getting involved in the tech industry, YCombinator funded startup company Edlyft is here to help equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to succeed: “Edlyft is creating 1 million new computer science college graduates over the next decade. We help college students pass their most challenging computer science classes by offering group tutoring, connecting them to study groups, and passing down guidance from peers who’ve done it before.” I spoke with Erika Hairston and Arnelle Ansong, co-founders of the newly funded startup, to hear their story behind building this company that’s catering to Black college students interested in joining tech. Origin...

Njera Perkins

Mar 13, 2020

This Former Intuit Exec is Building an App for Busy Parents

Know any Swahili? Then you’ve probably already noticed that “ujama” looks a lot like the Swahili word for “extended family.” That’s what Hugh Molotsi and the Ujama team are trying to create for America’s busy parents. Childhood Molotsi was born and raised in Zambia to South African parents, who were Apartheid-era exiles. His father wanted him to become a dentist but, after high school, he attended the University of Southern Mississippi to study computer engineering. Before university, Molotsi had never written a single line of code, but he quickly realized that he enjoyed programming. He would later attend Santa Clara University for graduate studies and intern at tech giant Hewlett Packard (HP). Career After graduate school, Molotsi joined HP as a full-time employee. “Working at HP, I discovered that I really enjoyed software and applications much more than being deep in the guts of the inner workings of a computer. So, I started to gravitate towards building front-end...

Colleen Williams

Jan 2, 2020

Five Black-Led VC Firms to Watch

The diversity numbers in venture capital (VC) are even worse than the numbers in tech as a whole. According to Tech Crunch, 81 percent of VC firms don’t have any Black investors at all. A study released by Harvard in 2017, indicated that women have accounted for less than 10 percent of the entrepreneurial and venture capital labor pool from 1990-2016 with about two percent having been Hispanics, and less than one percent African Americans. A more recent Stanford study indicates that even successful Black VCs have a tougher time in the industry than their white counterparts. Here are five Black VC making a mark: 1. BLCK VC According to their website , “BLCK VC was formed to connect, engage, empower, and advance Black venture investors by providing a focused community built for and by Black venture investors.” Their goal is to increase the number of Black venture capitalists from 200 to 400 by 2024. BLCK helps VC firms incorporate effective diversity and inclusion practices in their...

Colleen Williams

Jan 2, 2020

Meet Sarah and Ray Smith, the Husband-Wife Founders of a Houston-Based Podcasting Service

After living in Houston, TX, for several months, I finally found a suitable workspace. Coffee shops — with their unreliable WiFi and unpredictable crowds – weren’t cutting it for me. So, I spent a week bouncing around coworking spaces in the city before picking a permanent home. Little did I know that in my new work home, I would discover one of the coolest startups in Houston, TX. The Houston Pod is a podcasting service operated by the husband-wife team, Sarah and Ray Smith. I convinced the pair to sit down with me for a few minutes and tell me their story. Who are Sarah and Ray Smith? Sarah and Ray were both born and raised in Rosenberg, TX, a small suburb of Houston. They attended rival high schools but met each other when they were 15-years-old. The Smiths went separate ways after high school but reconnected in their twenties. They discovered that they both had a passion for business, innovation, and communication. “For us, our journey has been very much about us learning about...

Colleen Williams

Dec 20, 2019

Six Black Startups that are Killing the Game

It’s hard for Black entrepreneurs to launch startups, but these six companies are killing the game. Their amazing products are getting rave reviews from customers and impressive investments from industry leaders. 1. LISNR Founded by Rodney Williams, Chris Ostoich, and Josh Glick, LISNR is on a mission to completely disrupt the digital payments industry. According to their website, LISNR’s “proprietary ultrasonic data-over-sound technology enables modern checkout experiences globally across the customer journey for merchants, financial service providers and mobility enterprises.” If their recent investment from Visa is any indication, they are well on their way to achieving their goal. Learn more about Rodney Williams and LISNR here . 2. Calendly Calendly is a scheduling app that helps people organize their time better. Founded by Tope Awotona in 2013 and headquartered in Atlanta, Calendly helps its users increase their revenue and provide exceptional customer service by streamlining...

Colleen Williams

Dec 9, 2019

Is Silicon Valley the Future of Black Tech? Here are Six Cities Where Black Techies are Thriving

People of color are not having a great time in Silicon Valley. All too often, we hear stories reminding us that the traditional power structure in Silicon Valley is still hostile to Black and brown workers. However, if you’re a Black techie with enormous talent and a passion for creating world-changing technology, what are your options? It might seem like Silicon Valley is still the only place you can work on the coolest projects, but maybe we can look to a prominent entertainer for the alternative. At this year’s BET awards ceremony, Tyler Perry said to a group of fellow entertainers, “…while you are fighting for a seat at the table, I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own.” On that note, here’s a list of cities filled with Black techies and entrepreneurs building their own table. 1. Atlanta, GA Home to three Historically Black Colleges and Universities — Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University — and the prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, the city...

Colleen Williams

Dec 3, 2019

This Software Engineer is Using His Voice to Create Dope Tech for the Culture

Kyle Woumn — a speaker at AfroTech 2019 and a software engineer at Twilio — is no stranger to technology or the culture. If you take a look at the engineer’s LinkedIn, his tagline says it all. “I came up with that tagline, ‘Creating Dope Technology For The Culture,’ earlier this year because I was trying to think about who I am and the kind of work I wanted to do and put out into the world,” Woumn said. The world of technology is not new to Woumn. As an only child, born and raised in a traditional nuclear family in Atlanta, GA, he has always been a creator. His intense passion for learning and technology prompted his mother to enroll him in STEM summer camps in the Atlanta area at a young age. He attended youth programs at Spelman College and Georgia Institute of Technology. His enthusiasm for engineering persisted through high school and he eventually enrolled at the prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology to study computer engineering. However, he quickly found that his real...

Colleen Williams

Oct 18, 2019

Google Earth is Giving Virtual Tours of Famous Black History Sites

This black history month, Google Earth has an innovative way of helping you learn more about how African Americans have contributed to the U.S. Google Earth’s “The Journey Of Us” is a virtual experience curated by the Schomburg Center and Howard University to weave Black history with modern technology. The Schomburg Center is located in the heart of Harlem and archives pictures, prints, and artifacts relevant to Black culture. Founded during the Harlem Renaissance, the Schomburg continues to sponsor programs, initiatives, and events that elevate and educate on Black history through the year. The tour covers the evolution of dance, technology, business, education, entertainment, and civil rights through the African American lens. Companies like Oculus and Google have increasingly used their products to educate people about black history. Last month, a virtual reality documentary focused on the historical Green Book and Ben’s Chili Bowl debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The film,...

Arriana McLymore

Feb 13, 2019