Black Tech Week Announces 2022 Conference Calendar for Event in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OHBlack Tech Week, the inclusion focused tech ecosystem-building festival, announced the events schedule for its 2022 conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. The annual five-day event will run from July 18-22 and hold 60+ sessions—presenting 50+ tech influencers and minority innovation ecosystem builders as featured speakers.

Black Tech Week’s featured speakers include Kimberly Bryant, Founder of Black Girls Code, Arlan Hamilton, Founder of Hire Runner and Backstage Capital, Felecia Hatcher, CEO of Black Ambition, and Detavio Samuels, CEO of Revolt.

Black Tech Week’s events are presented with support from its committed sponsors including Amazon Web Services, The City of Cincinnati, Fifth Third Bank, Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, Ohio Third Frontier, Lincoln and Gilbert.

The completely re-branded, enhanced event creates meaningful opportunities for founders to connect with other founders, tech talent, educational programming and investors.

Lightship Foundation 

Black Tech Week’s keynotes, panels and sessions tap into the most relevant topics such as exits, IPOs and the current startup lifecycle, fundraising and navigating the venture landscape, and hiring for innovation amid the Great Resignation. Registrants can sign up for VC office hours with firms in attendance or participate in the pop-up Career Fair; through these offerings, Black Tech Week aims to serve as a real-time resource for organizations seeking to diversify their teams and for investors interested in cultivating more inclusive portfolios. Part of Black Tech Week’s programming will take place in the conference’s Activation Spaces—where Inc. Founder’s House, AWS, and Black@Genesis will run programming.

This year’s conference calendar is timed to coincide with the Cincinnati Music Festival, one of the oldest and largest in the country; the festival hosts 70,000+ visitors and generates 107 million dollars in economic impact.

Lightship Foundation, the Cincinnati-based economic development organization, acquired Black Tech Week with the vision of positioning Ohio as the most supportive state in the Midwest for minority innovation. Lightship Foundation, with Founder and CEO Candice Matthews Brackeen at its helm, is executing on its mission to leverage local corporate partners and community networks including the Cincinnati Innovation District (CID) to bring remarkable technology and venture leaders from all over the world to Ohio.

“For the last seven years, Black Tech Week has been hard at work, ecosystem-building for Black tech communities across the U.S.. Relocating to Cincinnati means expanding our national network of founders, talent, and investors.” said Candice Matthews Brackeen, Lightship Foundation Founder and CEO. “We’re so proud of our 2022 conference calendar—and the opportunity to bring this innovative session lineup to our community.”

“The city of Cincinnati is committed to becoming a place where Black entrepreneurs feel supported and seen,” says Aftab Pureval, Mayor of Cincinnati. “We are excited to host Black Tech Week and support Lightship in creating a hub for tech collaboration in the Midwest.”

To register for this year’s Black Tech Week in Cincinnati, to view the schedule and learn more about this year’s speakers, please click here.

About Lightship Foundation

Lightship Foundation is an impact-driven organization serving remarkable entrepreneurs & ecosystems. We leverage corporate partnerships, specialized programming, and capital investments to drive growth within the minority innovation economy. Since 2017, Lightship Foundation has guided over 200 companies led by women, FOC (Founders of Color), and those representing the LGBTIQ and disabled communities to more than $120M in venture funding across the US. Connect with Lightship Foundation via Linkedin or visit the Lightship Foundation website to learn more.

About Black Tech Week

Black Tech Week is an inclusion focused ecosystem-building festival that partners with founders, corporations and the community to create a valuable experience for investors, entrepreneurs, and techies of every kind. Connect with Black Tech Week on Facebook and Instagram, and visit the Black Tech Week website for more information.

Source and photos: Lightship Foundation



BDPA Memphis Welcomes new Computer Science Graduates to Industry

New Cyber and STEM civilian careers with the Department of the Air Force

MEMPHIS, TN — BDPA Memphis Student Members graduated this week with Computer Science Degrees from the University of Memphis. Other BDPA Student Members not only graduated with Computer Science Degrees, some graduated from CodeCrew Code School and Tech901.


According to BDPA Memphis, for students considering a future in IT, or want to learn more about technology, BDPA can help develop technical skills, make introductions to role models, and open doors to new tech internships or that first IT career opportunity.

bdpatoday | December 2019

For start-ups and entrepreneurs who provide IT-related services and products, a BDPA membership is an invaluable asset. BDPA introduces businesses to individuals with purchasing power. Interact with potential business partners, investors, and certified employees.

In 2018, nine students from National BDPA’s Memphis Chapter qualified to attend #BDPACon18, the annual BDPA National Technology Conference and Career Expo in New Orleans, LA.

Two mobile apps were presented at the conference: Microball Gaming (by Bryce Ellis), a three-in-one video game with augmented reality and real time multiplayer, and Edesia (by Kareem Dasilva), an app that finds nearby food trucks in real time.  Bryce won second place in the app competition, receiving a $2500 scholarship.

Three BDPA students won other scholarships (Jada Thomas, Monsanto Scholarship, $2500; Brandon Ellis, Oracle Scholarship, $2500; Cody Seymour, Oracle Scholarship, $2500), and three students participated in judging the High School Computer Coding Competition.  High school participant Milton Turner placed second in the Information Technology Showcase for his presentation on the risks of having a “smart city.”

BDPA Memphis’ advisor, CodeCrew Executive Director Meka Egwuekwe, was awarded the Individual Pace Setter Award for his leadership in developing STEM education in Memphis.

— Source and photos: BDPA Memphis


BDPA Huntsville | 2020 Regional Conference

Baltimore Tech Professionals to host annual Multicultural Minority Innovation Weekend


BALTIMORE, MDMinority Innovation Weekend 2019 (MIW19) provides minorities launching new businesses an opportunity to connect with each other and gain exposure to investors. This weekend’s summit at the University of Baltimore’s Thumel Business Center is dedicated to aiding minority innovators launch tech-focused startups, exploring trending technologies, and showcasing tech startups that have a minority founder or co-founder.

This two-day conference is co-hosted by NSBEBMAC, the Baltimore Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers Professionals, and SHPE, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Baltimore and Johns Hopkins Chapters.  The goal of this year’s event, named Minority Innovation Weekend (MIW), is to provide knowledge to enable individuals to turn their technology-based ideas or concepts into viable tech-startups and new corporations.


“The early stages of entrepreneurship can be a particularly isolating time due the do-it-all nature and time constraints of starting a business,” said Sir Walter Richardson, the MIW 2019 coordinator. “Even when given the chance to engage the broader technical or entrepreneurial world, the demographics are such that minorities can still feel isolated.”

The MIW19 Host BDPA Chapter is BDPA Baltimore.  MIW19’s Media Sponsor is bdpatoday.  Register today for Minority Innovation Weekend 2019 at

— Source, video, and photo credits: NSBE-BMAC




EY selects LISNR as 2017 Connected World Communications Winner

RodneyWilliams-LISNR headshotCINCINNATI, OH–Rodney Williams leads one of the most disruptive companies in our emerging Internet of Things (IoT) space and mobile connectivity. His firm, LISNR,  provides a data transmission protocol that utilizes ultrasonic, inaudible technology that sends secure data over audio. Today, EY announces LISNR as Connected World Communications Winners for their 2017 Ohio Valley EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) recently launched the “CAC Digital Docent” App, an acoustic guide designed by WNDERS that uses LISNR technology to enhance the visitor experience. The app allows visitors to explore more deeply the Tomás Saraceno installation on view in the lobby, and features exclusive content, messages and experiences including a personal greeting from the artist himself. The activation is powered by ultrasonic audio company LISNR and will be the first use of LISNR technology in any museum in the world.

Instead of using outdated technology like headsets with recorded audio or Bluetooth beacons that require hardware, installation and maintenance costs, WNDERS, a mobile app platform for venues looking to enhance their visitor experience, opted to leverage LISNR SmartTone technology. SmartTones trigger the app upon entry. They direct visitors to additional exciting content tied to the exhibit, leading them on a journey through the artwork using video, images, and sound. The tones help visitors connect with Tomas Saraceno across social platforms, view related works. Visitors also have the ability to create a profile and digital collection of images and content.

LISNR’s high-frequency, inaudible SmartTone technology connects mobile applications and devices. When played over speakers, mobile apps with LISNR recognize the tone via the microphone. This additionally also detects micro-location within the venue. The tone then directs the app to an action and in this case it is extra content. Existing audio speakers are leveraged to craft a unique, evolving experience as one moves through the space. According to CAC Director Raphaela Platow, the greatest benefit of LISNR technology is that it not only enables better data transmission, but does it in a cost effective way with minimal hardware, installation and maintenance. This makes it easier for non-profit arts organizations with smaller budgets to get into the innovation and technology game to enhance the visitor experience. “We are continuously looking for innovative and cost-effective ways to connect with our audiences and give them deep and exciting insight into the works on view and the artists who created them. LISNR technology will activate our new app throughout the exhibition space and not only provide people with diverse information but also help us understand better how visitors use and move about our spaces.”

According to LISNR Co-Founder Chris Ostoich, “LISNR has powered experiences and connectivity for some of the world’s most admired brands and venues – including Wembley Stadium, The Staples Center, The Grammys, The Cleveland Cavaliers and more. We are excited to partner with the Contemporary Arts Center, Tomas Saraceno and WNDERS on the first augmented audio museum experience in the world using LISNR technology.”

The CAC Digital Docent App will have a huge impact on how CAC visitors interact with our exhibitions, acting as an interactive, virtual gallery guide. “ArtsWave aimed to bring the spark of innovation into the arts this spring with its first arts hackathon, ArtsWave Tech, and we’re thrilled to see the ideas coming to life,” ArtsWave President and CEO Alecia Kintner said. “The CAC Digital Docent app is an example of the amazing things that can happen when the arts and tech communities of Greater Cincinnati come together.”

This intersection of art and technology represents a significant partnership with a prominent and innovative member of the Cincinnati for-profit business community and an innovator in the Arts sector LISNR is a technology company headquartered in the city’s Central Business District. This is a company on the rise, having raised Series B financing led by Intel Capital, recently named 2017 Ohio Valley EY Entrepreneur of the Year, named one of CNBC’s Disruptor 50, a Gold Lion at Cannes Lions, and customers include The Cleveland Cavaliers, AEG, Budweiser, The Grammys, Visa and more.

As the CEO of LISNR, Mr. Williams has grown the company from a single idea to a promising global standard with more than 40 industry awards. As an entrepreneur, he’s received many accolades from a variety of publications. Williams also is a staple in his community mentoring and advocating for the voiceless. He recently was appointed to the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees.

Sources: LISNR and
Photo credits: LISNR and EY

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Baltimore Pitch Competition team captures $10K regional prize

WASHINGTONTestify Software Solutions won $10,000 as a finalist in another round of pitch competitions designed to encourage youth entrepreneurship across emerging software-defined ecosystems.

Organized by Mark Greenberg and Marcus Noel, The World Series of Entrepreneurship (#WSE2017) Regional Pitch Competition series is aimed at giving students an extracurricular outlet to develop their ideas, challenge their comfort zones, and learn along a fun, empowering journey. Their mission is to encourage high school students to take a leap with them—inviting them to participate in the ultimate hands-on after-school activity where students get to come up with their own businesses or product ideas, make it come to life with guidance from industry mentors, and then show off their venture in a pitch competition with their peers.

Femi Adebogun, Zack Tasker, Druvesh Patel,  and Paras Shah are Testify‘s Franklin High School co-founders. Testify is an education technology (EdTEch) startup built around their MindMap app.  For Adebogun (top/cover photo), the WSE2017 regional high school pitch competition was not his team’s first rodeo. According to Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) Spotlight, last December they participated in the Venture D.C. Pitch Competition here in Washington, beating six local startups with their app idea, pitch, and execution. Furthermore, they have been asked to talk about Testify at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada on several occasions. Nonetheless, regardless of what they have achieved thus far, Testify‘s co-founders still hope to achieve and earn more.

BDPA’s high school coding competition (HSCC) students from Washington, D.C. (BDPA-DC) also participated in WSE2017 events. Team leader Ms. Indigo Emanuel (photo) introduced her team and launched their pitch.

Philadelphia, PA and the District of Columbia served as WSE2017 host cities. Washington’s Inclusive Innovation Incubator [In3] hosted one of the regional pitch competitions at Howard University.

→ Sources and photos:
The World Series of Entrepreneurship™
BDPA Washington, D.C.
Inclusive Innovation Incubator [In3]



Small Business Week with BDPA | 2017

PHILADELPHIA, PA —BDPA Members and start-up executives enjoyed the conversation and camaraderie during National Small Business Week and Philly Tech Week with BDPA‘s Co-Founder Earl A. Pace Jr. and LISNR‘s Co-Founder Rodney Williams during a Fireside Chat with Accelerate PHL and regional entrepreneurs.


Formerly known as Black Data Processing Associates, BDPA was launched in Philadelphia by Mr. Pace and the late David Wimberly in 1975. One year later, Mr. Pace started Pace Data Systems (PDS) to support the banking industry primarily in Philadelphia and Richmond. Today, PDS remains a B2B FinTech firm.


In 2012, LISNR was created by Mr. Rodney Williams around the core premise that sound can do more. With this single insight, sound is leveraged as a conduit for wide-scale connections everywhere. More specifically, using sound to connect more people and devices in ways that had never existed before. LISNR has grown into the world’s most advanced ultrasonic technology—the Internet of Sound. In January, LISNR was honored by CES, formerly Consumer Electronics Show, as a Top Software Product in 2017.

BDPA BAY AREA | Silicon Valley Start-Ups to watch

Founded by BDPA High School Coding Competition (HSCC) alumna Ms. Stephanie Lampkin, Blendoor just released it’s latest app, BlendScore. Data, people, analytics, transparency and accountability is the driving force behind the push toward meritocratic or skills-based hiring. BlendScore analyzes publicly available information, survey responses, and real-time data. Blendoor’s Bias Index assigns a rating to 138 top technology companies based on demographics of the leadership team, retention statistics and strategies, recruiting practices, and social impact initiatives. Ms. Lampkin graduated from Stanford and received her MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.


Hamm Consulting Group’s (HCG) federal advocacy work with Hanka Advisor, the Cincinnati Park Board, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and members of the Cincinnati congressional delegation resulted in a $30 million funding authorization to help complete the final phase of the John G. and Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park. Both chambers of Congress completed action on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill. Mr. Ron Hamm , HCG’s Founder, presents legislative affairs and government relations workshops during BDPA Regional Innovation Summits. His clients also include state/local governments and HBCU/MIs.


BDPA’s Cincinnati Chapter will co-host National BDPA’s 39th Annual Technology Conference at the Duke Energy Convention Center, June 26-29, 2017.

See related success stories with LISNR’s video



Washington launches an Inclusive Innovation Incubator for Small Businesses

WASHINGTON—Aaron Saunders, CEO of Luma Lab‘s parent company, Clearly Innovative, Inc., is National BDPA‘s Washington, D.C. Chapter (BDPA-DC) 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year.

aaron-bdc16This week, the Inclusive Innovation Incubator [In3] operated by Clearly Innovative’s Luma Lab,  launches as the District of Columbia’s first community space focused on inclusion, innovation and incubation. The incubator is committed to creating a collaborative environment where under-resourced members have direct and indirect access to workspaces and services needed to firmly establish, build, and grow successful businesses.


In3, housed at Howard University, will continue to receive advice and guidance from both the District of Columbia via the Mayor’s administration and Howard University, but In3’s staff will operate independently.

This week, the new Inclusive Innovation Incubator celebrates its Week of Welcome as it aims to attract more minority entrepreneurs working on startups serving underrepresented communities.  During In3’s Week of Welcome (#In3WoW), BDPA-DC is co-sponsoring DENT Education’s Start-Up Garage, a week long youth coding program during Spring Break and BDPA-DC also is co-hosting Earth Day Tech Summit events with bdpatoday April 21-22, 2017 during Earth Day weekend with the Inclusive Innovation Incubator.


Since 1986, National BDPA’s nationally renowned high school coding competitions and HSCC Programs continue to provide our nation with more junior developers (Jr. Devs), Interns, and start-up CEOs to tech industry pipelines, accelerators, or new incubators such as In3.

In3 will improve the business landscape in the District of Columbia by providing their new members with the right tools and access to financial, technical and professional resources.

Sources and contributors:
PTTV and DCInno


Howard University and Google Launch ‘Howard West’

WASHINGTON—Howard University announced in partnership with Google the launch of Howard West, a three-month, summer Computer Science residency for rising juniors and seniors in the University’s Computer Science program. The residency includes a dedicated workspace on Google’s Mountain View campus and a generous stipend to cover housing and other expenses in Silicon Valley.


BDPA-DC Members and BDPA Student Members at Howard University share success stories with faculty and corporate board members during this month’s quarterly Department Advisory Board Meeting for the Department of Information Systems & Supply Chain Management.  — Photo credit: BDPA-DC 2017 © bdpatoday


The announcement serves as the realization of Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick’s vision of expanding Howard’s presence to the West Coast. It is also a major step forward for Google’s efforts to recruit and retain diverse technical talent.

“Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us,” said Frederick. “We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind – to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve.”

Howard and Google’s longstanding partnership with the Google in Residence (GIR) program was the foundation for Howard West. Since GIR embeds Google engineers as faculty at Howard and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Howard West was a natural and logical next step. The program connects the geographical, academic and cultural divide between declaring a major in Computer Science and landing a job in tech.

“During my time at Howard, I worked side-by-side with future lawyers, doctors, writers, entertainers, architects and business leaders. The spirit of total possibility put me on my path to Harvard Business School and ultimately Google,” said Bonita Stewart, Google’s Vice President of Global Partnerships. “Howard West will continue Howard’s tradition of providing unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a presence in the heart of Silicon Valley.”


Regional teams formed for Howard University’s third annual weekend hack-a-thon.  Students from DC area colleges, universities, community colleges, and local vocational tech schools participated in #HUHacks, which opened March 24, 2017 at the University’s Business School. — Photo credit: BDPA-DC 2017 © bdpatoday 

Google credits Howard for the vision and groundwork to make the program happen, explaining that for many, the University’s name represents the prestige and importance of the entire body of HBCUs. HBCUs proportionally generate the largest number of Black Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) college graduates in the United States and have significantly improved Google’s intern diversity hiring.

Although the amount of new hires this program will generate is undetermined, within five years, 740 students will have matriculated. Howard West will serve the entire tech ecosystem – not just Google. For the University, this is another opportunity to provide innovative, world-class learning experiences to its students, preparing them for work and leadership in the community.  Students will obtain 12 credits toward graduation as instruction through an immersion curriculum as part of the program.

#HUHacks’ sizzle reel captured a few sights and sounds from the weekend’s events.

Cover photo: (L-R) Bonita Stewart, VP of Global Partnerships at Google, and Dr. Wayne Frederick, president of Howard University.
Source: Howard University
Cover Photo: Justin Sullivan/Google,  Insets: BDPA-DC
Crystal Brown, Howard University and Ty Sheppard, Google; contributed to this article
Video: Popular Technology TV (PTTV).


Speakers & Presenters Announced for Innovation Summit


2016 BDPA Regional Innovation Summit*
June 23-25, 2016 Washington, D.C.
“Innovation Evolves Once Shared”

Pre-Registration is Requested
Register today ►
Join or Renew ►
*BDPA and Student Members attend tech and career workshops for FREE

Thursday JUNE 23  |  6pm-8pm
bdpatoday Tech & Media Reception @ SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Featuring Cadillac, Lexus, Ford with new autonomous and automotive services at SiriusXM Washington, D.C. Studios

Friday JUNE 24  |  11 am – 1 pm
Industry Day and CxO Panel @ Bowie State University

*** Tech Industry: Lobbying Congress during a new Clinton, Sanders, or Trump Administration ***
(Ron Hamm — Government Relations)

*** Innovation Evolves Once Shared. Collaboration. Best Practices.
CxO Panel featuring round-table discussions on innovative solutions, interoperability, talent acquisition, Start-Ups, and industry training ***

• Keith Scott — Federal SI & Business Development for AppDynamics
• Ray Bell — Founder, H.O.P.E. Project DMV
• Carl Brown — Director, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Howard University
• Demetria Gallagher — Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
• Jerry Williams — Former HUD CIO and CEO Ryan Consulting
• LaToya Staten — Strategic Partnerships, SARTI Systems
• Kim Logan — CEO, Signature Management Group, Inc.
• Enoch Long — Principal Security Strategist/Client Architect at Splunk for Public Sector

(Joe Carter, CEO R&K Cyber: Keynote Presenter)

*** Regional Student Team Check-In and Dinner at IHOP | 6 pm ***

Saturday JUNE 25  |  9 am – 1 pm
Community Day with Industry & BDPA @ Bowie State University

*** Community Day Power Breakfast ***
(Keynote: Mr. Maynard Holliday, SES, Defense Department
Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics)

*** Annual Regional High School Computer Competition (HSCC)
Computer Science Building   |  9:30 am — Dr. Daryl Stone and Mr. Lou Shack

*** Advance Program Briefing to Industry (APBI) Panel  |  10:00 am
Community Innovation, Collaboration, and capturing STEM GRANT$ with new business partners

• Raymond Bell — H.O.P.E. Project DMV (HOPE)
• Thurman Jones — Patriots Technology Training Center (PTTC)
• Dr. Jesse Bemley — Joint Educational Facilities (JEF)
• Latya Taylor — (eSTEAM) Community Network African American Telecommunication Professionals of AT&T

*** BDPA Regional IT Showcase  |  11:00 am
High School & Collegiate White Paper and Poster Presentations

*** BDPA Community Luncheon & Industry Forecast  |  12 Noon

Register today ►
Join or Renew ► Select “Join Us”


Decoding the Department of Defense (DoD)

 DIUx Invites your firm to Participate in a special Small Business Townhall:diux-banner-18feb16

Director, Defense Innovation Unit Experimental
Acting Director, DoD Office of Small Business Programs
Chief of Contracting Policy Branch, Air Force Research Lab
Regional Manager, Silicon Valley US Patent & Trademark Office
Chief Technology Officer, Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—The Department of Defense (DoD) is often viewed by companies as a challenging customer. However, the DoD can provide value to small businesses by providing funding for technology maturation, introducing their technology to potential DoD customers and testing technology in real world applications. With a DoD partnership, this can all happen without diluting the equity of existing founders and investors.

MSISAC_DashboardTo better understand the resources available to you and introduce key local California contacts, join DIUx, the DoD’s Office of Small Business Programs, and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office/Silicon Valley on February 18, 2016 from 4pm-6pm for a Small Business Townhall, followed by a networking session and an opportunity to meet with Small Business experts. This session will be interactive, with opportunities for conversation with key personnel from the Department who want to identify technology that can potentially benefit the nation’s security.

Small Business Townhall topics include:
  • The resources and opportunities for a small business to work with the DoD
  • A Translation of the Contracting Alphabet: From Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) to Other Transaction Authorities (OTAs), the Department is leveraging new contracting options to work with you
  • Current opportunities and technology areas of interest to DoD
  • Intellectual Property: Mythbusting
  • Local government resources in the area (Defense Innovation Unit Experimental; USPTO; Service SBIR offices)

To RSVP or learn more, visit ►

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