Last night, CNN debuted Black in America 4 with Soledad O’Brien, which featured 8 African-American tech entrepreneurs who went out to Silicon Valley this summer to participate in a business incubator with the hopes of landing seed capital to catapult their entrepreneurial dreams. It was an amazing mix between MTV’s the Real World and Donald Trump’s Apprentice. These business owners had the opportunity to sit at the feet of tech masters in Silicon Valley and learn the art of “the pitch.” The whole goal of the program is position participants to secure venture capital or angel investment for their consumer driven app or websites to launch their businesses.
I had the opportunity last week to interview Wayne Sutton, North Carolina based tech entrepreneur, publisher of the tech blog SocialWayne.Com, one of the founders of the New Media Accelerator . He along with co-founder Angela Benton,CEO of BlackWeb20.com the leading online publication for African-Americans interested in Technology and New Media.
Here’s to my three minute video interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=153x4QxP8LQ
Applications to be in the second class of the New Media Accelerator are due by Dec 16, 2011 so not delay. If you are a minority or women tech entrepreneur this could be the opportunity of a life time.
After the documentary aired last night CNN’s Tech guru Mario Armstrong host a live panel discussion on the web with seasoned veterans of the innovation space to further discuss how a pipeline of minority techpreneurs could be cultivated. The panel included Terry Jones, Syncom Venture Partners, Christian S. Johnansson, Serial entrepreneur & Secretary of Business & Economic Development State of Maryland, Dave Troy, Venture capitalist & 410Labs.com, Hank Williams, Tech entrepreneur, founder Kloudco.com, Wayne Sutton, Newmeaccelator.com , Ellen Hammerly, Exec Director UMBC Research and Technology Park. You can watch a replay of the webcast of the panel discussion on http://www.marioarmstrong.com
Some of the key takeaways from the webcast:
- You do not need to go to Silicon Valley to hit it big as a tech start-up.
- Use the tools of technology to build the relationships to learn what you need to know for your business.
- Build a PLN, a Personal Learning Network
- Look at the state you are in to see if there is any seed money for tech start-ups. Maryland has a great program check out www.ChooseMaryland.org.
- Learn on someone else’s dime
- Check out the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and I would highly recommend my own book too Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months by Melinda F. Emerson.
- We should all seek inclusive excellence. Everyone can live their entrepreneurial dreams.
Additional resources to launch your technology start-up:
Codeacademy.com They provide expert instruction, mentorship, and an immersive environment to learn how to code.
Startupdigest.com Kauffman foundation’s tech website.
Namde.org National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs (
Activateprogram.org ACTiVATE is an applied tech entrepreneurship program for experienced women.
Alice.org Free scripting and prototyping environment program for 3D object behavior.
Scratch.mit.edu Scratch is a programming language for everyone. Create interactive stories, games
Do you have any suggestions for helping minority and women tech entrepreneurs?
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America’s leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Forbes Magazine named her #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com Melinda is also bestseller author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works.