BIPOC in Tech: Inspiring Discussion Among Local Black Leaders About Opportunities 

images of participants in BIPOC in tech discussion on 4-21-21

Today, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and MnTech hosted a virtual panel discussion on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) representation in today’s tech industry featuring three Black entrepreneurs.  

If you missed today’s discussion, you can watch it here.  

The panel included BIPOC tech professionals at the forefront of the discussion, including:  

Jonathan Banks, President and Founding Partner of NCXT; Erin Horne McKinney, CEO of WomenVenture; and Caroline Karanja, CEO of Hack the Gap. The discussion was facilitated by Jade Denson, Vice President, Programming & Member Experience at MnTech

Panelists discussed their tech experiences and successes, which are many and varied. They also offered advice for young generations of BIPOC people interested in or starting out in the tech field, including connect with resources that are out there, get started as early as you can and leverage your network. 

Asked what they loved most about being Black in tech, the panelists had inspiring answers. 

“For people who have not been traditionally been represented in the space it’s an opportunity to not just to bring something new to the table but to focus on the things that we care most about,” said Karanja. “For me it’s been really exciting to use technology, to stand up products and to share them out and contribute in the communities I care most about.” 

“I love the fact that I have an opportunity to help create and use my experience and skills, my passion and energy to make pathways for others in this space on the workforce development side and also on the entrepreneurship side,” said Horne McKinney. 

“Living in a country like the United States we find that somehow for a lot of the advances, privileges and opportunities it takes innovation to just to get a hold of them and when you are in technology you are just innovating all day long and it’s kind of by nature what we just do as a people. It’s definitely an industry that lends itself to Black folks,” said Banks. 

Panelists called out Blacks in Technology as a great resource, plus you can also see a list of additional local resources for BIPOC in tech-related organizations

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