After two years of pandemic and virtual events, more than 1,500 founders attended the 6th annual Roadmap to the Billions conference held at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York in June. The conference, which supports and encourages Black women to create the next billion-dollar company, was launched by Black Women Talk Tech, a collective of Black women tech founders.
If you missed it, here’s what you need to know! The three-day conference, supported by several major sponsors, was an opportunity for Black women entrepreneurs to pursue business opportunities with prestigious companies such as Microsoft.
The Microsoft for Startups programme introduced the new Founders Hub for those creating technology solutions. Similarly, Bank of America promoted its Breakthrough Lab, an eight-week accelerator programme for Brown and RISD students.
The crowdfunding platform Start Engine held a contest for founders to win the opportunity to pitch their project to Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank. Mastercard also presented StartPath, its startup programme.
For example, Black Women Talk Tech organised a special VIP lunch at the Canadian Consulate to encourage more Black founders to expand into new markets and start businesses in Canada.
This event was aimed not only at entrepreneurs but also at people looking for a job in the technology sector. A large part of the room was also dedicated to recruiting at companies such as Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley, Hinge, Citi, etc.
Beyond the corporate connections, participants received valuable lessons that will inspire and guide them on their journey from key speakers such as Andrea Donkor, SVP, Regulatory and Consumer Compliance at PayPal; Jewel Burks Solomon, Head of Google for Startups; or Kenneth Ebie, Executive Director and Director of Development, Black Entrepreneurs NYC and many others.
And to keep an eye on Web3, there was an NFT and Crypto corner presented by VaynerMedia.
Finally, at the end of the third day, a pitch competition was held: congratulations to Tisia Safford, CEO of Cleare, a GovTech compliance software that received $20,000 in funding, and Erin Rowe, founder and CEO of Allspring, a coaching platform that won the second cash prize of $5,000. The winners will join 43North’s annual accelerator as semi-finalists and get technical support from Dell. They will also receive AWS cloud credits for their projects.
More than business
As you can see, it wasn’t just about business; it was also a time to meet, a safe place for Black women in tech to interact with each other during fun activities like the Pajama Jammy Jam on the opening night. A beauty and wellness salon offered participants massages, sound baths and manicures, as well as drinks provided by BLK Water and Essentia Water.