Apple launches inaugural Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers

CUPERTINO, CA—As part of Apple’s ongoing commitment to empower the Black community and dismantle barriers to opportunity, today the company is welcoming leaders and their teams from 13 app companies as the inaugural cohort of Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers. In 2019, Apple held its first-ever Entrepreneur Camp, an immersive tech lab for app-driven companies founded and led by developers from underrepresented backgrounds, with a class of women founders and developers. Program participants have gone on to secure major funding rounds, garner numerous awards and accolades, and significantly expand both their teams and app users worldwide. The program is designed to give developers the opportunity to take their existing app experience to the next level by mastering new technical skills, applying a critical lens to the user experience, and more through hands-on technology labs, one-on-one code-level guidance from Apple experts and engineers, and mentorship, inspiration, and insights from top Apple leaders.

These incredible app creators and business leaders embody the entrepreneurial spirit that runs so deep in the Black community.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. In addition, Apple is partnering with Harlem Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm based in New York that invests in diverse founders, to offer guidance and mentorship to the participants. This new partnership is part of Apple’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), which builds on the company’s work to advance racial equity in education, the economy, and the criminal justice system. These commitments aim to expand opportunities for communities of color across the country and to help build the next generation of diverse leaders.“ These incredible app creators and business leaders embody the entrepreneurial spirit that runs so deep in the Black community,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, who leads REJI. “Their work already demonstrates the power of coding to build a better world, and we’re honored to support them as they blaze a trail we know so many more will follow.”

Meet the Developers

David Bosun-Arebuwa, B3am app creator.

B3am

David Bosun-Arebuwa created the B3am app to make gym equipment accessible to beginning fitness enthusiasts who can’t afford personal trainers by using the iPhone camera to identify gym equipment and explain proper usage. Originally from Nigeria and now based in Birmingham, UK, Bosun-Arebuwa has found community with other coders through sharing Swift knowledge.

Adam Taylor, Black app developer.

Black

Adam Taylor, the founder of app development company Langston LLC and solo developer behind Black, built the app to facilitate culturally relevant and multifaceted news for Black people, with stories that speak to the community’s shared experience. A self-taught coder, Taylor has already integrated sophisticated technology into the app to provide relevant and personalized content, and is looking forward to learning more about native iOS frameworks and going deeper on his code with Apple engineers.

Culture Genesis co-founders Cedric J. Rogers and Shaun Newsum.

Bar Exam

Culture Genesis is a venture-backed digital studio remixing technology for urban multicultural audiences, co-founded by experienced engineers and media executives Cedric J. Rogers and Shaun Newsum. The Los Angeles-based team behind the hip hop-centered live trivia game show app TriviaMob will spend their time at Camp working on their newest app called Bar Exam, focused on music.

Abdou Sarr, founder of MODU RESEARCH Corporation and the Film3D app.

Film3D 

MODU RESEARCH Corporation founder Abdou Sarr wants to remove barriers to capturing, creating, and sharing immersive media. The 22-year-old Senegalese-Canadian is a frequent speaker at youth conferences to motivate young people to pursue computer science and entrepreneurship. His Film3D app taps Core ML, ARKit, and Metal to let users shoot 3D photos without special equipment.

FormKey app founder Brent Brinkley.

FormKey

FormKey is a MIDI Controller app from Polyhedra LLC focused on helping create music without being overwhelmed by the complexities of theory and composition. Founder Brent Brinkley, who is based in Raleigh, North Carolina, uses shapes to define notes and colors to define octaves, creating a new language that makes reading music quick and easy.

Health Auto Export creator Lybron Sobers.

Health Auto Export

Lybron Sobers, a native of Barbados now living in Malmö, Sweden, created the Health Auto Export app so patients can easily extract and share specific data across healthcare providers in a secure, privacy-protected way. Sobers is passionate about teaching the basics of programming to kids at coding camps, and mentoring young programmers who are just starting their careers.

Hologarden developer Casey Pollock.

Hologarden

An avid gardener and self-taught Swift developer, Near Future Marketing founder Casey Pollock is working on the Hologarden app to help aspiring gardeners flourish using AR and AI. The app will address gardeners’ needs like recording plant growth and managing plant care and health. Pollock also hosts a free meetup called Augmented Reality Today about creating ARKit apps for beginners, and has taught sessions at UC Berkeley and San Jose State.

Hubli creators Mariana Lech, Ailton Vieira, and Rodolfo Diniz.

Hubli

The Hubli app is a remote learning solution born out of the COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges of in-person education, created by five Apple Developer Academy students in Brazil: Ailton Vieira, Gabriel Taques, Maykon Meneghel, Mariana Lech, and Rodolfo Diniz. Currently in beta testing, Hubli uses AI to enrich the learning experience for both students and teachers, and aims to help make online collaboration more productive.

Justice Royale’s Quintin Rodriguez-Harrison.

Justice Royale

Zapling Studios wants to create games enjoyable by veteran and novice gamers alike. Its first game, Justice Royale, uses a proprietary set of gestures, which allows players to focus on gameplay with precise controls for a fast-paced arcade “beat ‘em up” experience. The team is focused on reworking the entire game to include local and online multiplayer capability, in addition to harnessing the power of ARKit to create an immersive experience.

Kickstroid founder David Alston.

Kickstroid

Founder David Alston and his team built Kickstroid to help sneaker enthusiasts discover their favorite shoes with features they couldn’t find in other sneaker apps, and provide a platform to build community among sneakerheads worldwide. In addition to his work on the app, Alston is also head of outreach for Blacks and African Americans in Computing (BAAC) at the University of Illinois, hosting coding events for young Black and Latinx students.

Nailstry co-founder Aurelia Edwards.

Nailstry

Nailstry is the first marketplace exclusively for press-on nails and nail art, connecting indie artists with press-on nail enthusiasts. Created by Aurelia Edwards, Nailstry uses augmented reality to digitally measure and create custom-fit press-on nails while also improving inefficiencies in the creation process. Nailstry’s team empowers makers with market education and tools to grow their businesses, supports minority founders, and gives back through coding programs such as Black Girls Code.

Ashley McKoy, Ositanachi Otugo, and Harold Lomotey.

The Peek: TV Shows and Movies

The Peek: TV Shows and Movies app started as a senior class project for founders and Howard University graduates Ashley McKoy, Harold Lomotey, and Ositanachi Otugo in 2018. The team created this mobile social media platform to share TV and movie recommendations among family and friends, while also seeking to amplify titles from Black creators and actors, as a solution to endless scrolling and a lack of reliable online recommendations for streaming content.

TuneBend creator Matt Garrison.

TuneBend

TuneBend creator Matt Garrison is a noted musician who laid the foundation for the app when he opened his live venue, ShapeShifter Lab, in Brooklyn, New York. The app helps educational organizations and performing artists create, teach, distribute, and sell new and existing music using video and audio clips, especially useful during the pandemic, when in-person performances and teaching have not been possible.

Source and photos: Apple

Amazon’s Future Engineer Program funds High School Computer Science Courses

Jeff Bezos visits Dunbar High School in Washington,D.C. Amazon launches Future Engineer Program

SEATTLE, WA—Amazon today announced it reached a new milestone—through its Amazon Future Engineer program, it is funding computer science courses in more than 2,000 high schools supporting students from underserved and underrepresented communities across the country. Benefiting more than 100,000 high school students, from Nenana, Alaska to Washington, D.C., Amazon is funding full-year Intro and AP computer science courses, primarily for public Title I schools that have never offered AP computer science courses before. Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part, childhood-to-career program that works to inspire and educate 10 million children and young adults each year from underserved and underrepresented communities to try computer science.

“We applaud the teachers who took the initiative to bring these courses to their deserving students, and we are humbled to be a part of the important work they do in their classrooms across the country every single day,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. “This is an important milestone for our Amazon Future Engineer program and its quest to make sure more students, especially those from underserved and underrepresented communities, have the access to and the opportunity to dive deep into an exciting computer science education.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field, but only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a tiny minority from underprivileged backgrounds. Students from underprivileged backgrounds are 8 to 10 times more likely to pursue college degrees in computer science if they have taken AP computer science in high school.

amazon-bezos-kindleAmazon Future Engineer provides access to computer science courses in more than 2,000 schools through its curriculum providers – Edhesive and Code.org. Since the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year, the vast majority of the high schools accepted in the Amazon Future Engineer program are public schools that have received or are eligible for Title I funding.

“Having Amazon Future Engineer fund courses for our students in rural Oregon means we are able to give our students exposure to technology rich skills that directly impact their future career choice,” said Kyle Sipe, Instructional Coach and Robotics Mentor, Umatilla High School. “Because of this program, we can alter the knowledge base of our students and assist them to select a career that better suits our local job market’s needs. Amazon Future Engineer has given our kids the amazing opportunity to get relevant and applicable technology content.”

“We have future scientists, engineers, and inventors in our classrooms throughout the District, and I am proud that we have resources like Amazon’s Future Engineer program to provide them with the learning opportunities they need to achieve their goals,” said District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee. “We are excited to welcome the Amazon team to Dunbar High School to see our students in action, and their passion and excitement for computer science is what drives us to continue to expand our STEM programming through National Academy Foundation (NAF) Academies, courses, extracurricular activities, and more.”

“As demand for computer science skills impacts a wide range of industries from manufacturing to customer service, the demand for a diverse labor force equipped with technical capabilities also rises,” said Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI). “It’s why we applaud all efforts from the public and private sector to increase access to a robust computer science education and to nurture the growth of our nation’s economy. I am looking forward to seeing all that the next generation of students in Michigan’s 11th district will achieve, as the Amazon Future Engineer program launches at high schools there and across the country.”

The Amazon Future Engineer high schools will receive funding from Amazon to offer Intro & AP computer science courses. Amazon’s funding also provides preparatory lessons, tutorials, professional development for teachers, fully sequenced and paced digital curriculum for students, and live online support every day of the week for both teachers and students. All educators and students participating in this program have access to a no-cost membership with AWS Educate, Amazon’s global initiative to provide students comprehensive resources for building skills in cloud technology. Students will receive content to learn about cloud computing and access to the AWS cloud for their coding projects.

Launched in November 2018, Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue careers in the fast-growing field of computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire millions of kids to explore computer science; provides over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offers guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience. Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s $50 million investment in computer science/STEM education. In addition, Amazon Future Engineer has donated more than $10 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country.

Cover photo: Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, visits an Amazon-funded computer science class at Dunbar High School in Washington D.C.
— Source and photos: Amazon and NBC Washington

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Tickets are available now from your Host BDPA Chapter. Select here to RSVP before November 15th.

Tech Industry seeks more Black Coders

Select here for more code, new apps, and #BlackData with related archived content

SEATTLE, WA — For years there have been programs designed to get more girls involved in tech careers, but Microsoft noticed an urgent need to step up industry’s support for minority males. The firm’s MANCODE initiative is scoped as a one day technology conference that educates middle and high school minority males about technology.

mancode-logo

According to Shy Averett, Microsoft’s community programs and event manager, only 2.2% of technology professionals are minority males. This type of workshop will “set them up” not only for careers in technology but for successful careers in general, she says. The boys also will learn how to set up resumes and a proper LinkedIn profile. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in June of 2016.

This program launched on October 19th in Seattle at Microsoft’s headquarters, will stop in 12 cities across the United States through 2019. Next month, at least 80 locations will launch mini MANCODE classes for those who are interested.

For more than 40 years, National BDPA (NBDPA) Chapters in major U.S. cities have supported local youth coding programs with related computer technology projects. In 2019, BDPA activities for new student members and MANCODE participants are available with any or all of the following youth development programs through local BDPA Chapter memberships and participation.

I.T. Showcase (research and development [R&D] with white papers)
HSCC (High School Coding Competitions)
Tablets For Teens (DC area only — create STEM apps with new tablets)
Mobile App Showcase (develop new mobile and wireless device applications)
• #BDPACON19 (National coding competitions, scholarships, and showcase awards)

For BDPA’s 2019 events, parent, student, and chaperone memberships with BDPA (BDPA.org) are required to pre-register for above listed program participation. For additional information about BDPA and software development opportunities in 2019, coding competition programs, and career development activities across the National Capital Region, visit → BDPADC.org.

— Sources: Microsoft, BDPA, and Black America Web
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Cover photo © 2018 bdpatoday — BDPA National High School Coding Competition (HSCC) finalists, Jr. Devs, and Coders from Washington, D.C. visit U.S. Air Force Cyber Warriors from the Pentagon and USCYBERCOM during #BDPACON18 in New Orleans, LA. For 2019,  #BDPACON19 will be hosted by National BDPA’s Atlanta, Georgia Chapter from August 1-3, 2019. 

Network with BDPA Members during CES 2019 — January 8-11, 2019

Join today | BDPA.org

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4G ending as 2018 Closes — What’s Next?

WASHINGTON — National BDPA’s Washington, D.C. Chapter (BDPADC.org) and Samsung Electronics America reached 40-year milestones in 2018.  To that end, opportunities for new fifth-generation workforces powered by start-ups with innovative capability sets and 5G technologies could yield greater benefits for the tech industry.

bd18fGreater rewards are available for communities who understand Industry’s urgent need to embrace new processes and solutions across vertical markets such as transportation, health, manufacturing, and finance.

This year’s top stories, photos, and STEM vignettes from Industry, BDPA sponsors, and local BDPA Chapter mission-partners are featured here at bdpatoday.com and on the trade association’s playlists (https://populartechnology.tv) and galleries (https://pinterest.com/bdpatoday).


Network with Industry & BDPA Members during CES 2019 | Join today at BDPA.org

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HUBL’s Whitney Griffith Wins Big in Silicon Valley

World Blockchain Hackathon 2018 and Howard University

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Whitney Griffith, an early member of the Howard University Blockchain Lab (HUBL), won first place at this year’s World Blockchain Hackathon, in San Francisco. Recently, HUBL got a chance to reconnect with her to hear all about her latest success story.

HUBL: How did you find out about the Hackathon?

Whitney: I found out about the hackathon through the magic of Silicon Valley. One of the organizers came to my birthday party, and after we were talking for a while he told me about his World Blockchain Hackathon series, where he travels the world hosting Blockchain hackathons to build a community. Immediately I was intrigued because Blockchain and hackathons are totally my thing.

HUBL: Did you already have a team, or did you form the team when you arrived?

Whitney: When I got to the event, I formed the team with some other women engineers. However, most of us were pretty clueless in terms of Blockchain development so on Saturday everyone basically took the time to follow some tutorials and we began working on the project on Sunday.

HUBL: What got you interested in blockchain dev?

Whitney: My friends at Howard University, specifically Alston, got me into this cryptocurrency world. The more I was in the blockchain space by going to the events, and faking it, I got more intrigued by the technology and specifically I saw the numerous use cases that Blockchain can be applied to, to make the world a better place. As such, I immediately knew I needed to learn how to develop in Blockchain and all I needed was time.

HUBL: How long have you been doing blockchain dev?

Whitney:I have been doing Blockchain Development for two weeks roughly. Before, I have been researching about general blockchain stuff, such as, cryptocurrency trading, mining and following the ICO trends but I have only been doing blockchain dev the past two weeks.

wallpaper-techHUBL: What were some obstacles you and your teamed faced while building the project?

Whitney: One of the main obstacle we faced was lack of knowledge of the Stack of a DApp, limited understanding of smart contracts and how to secure smart contracts. As such we spent most of our time peer programming, writing in pseudocode and then having to write it over in Solidity, and explaining the concepts to everyone on the team.

HUBL: How did the pitch go?

Whitney: The pitch was great. We had a story to tell and we knew that was the thing that would enable us to win. I was tasked with doing the pitch for my team, and although I was nervous I pushed through because I believed in our story.

HUBL: What went through your mind when they announced your team as the winner?

Whitney: I was in shock. I still am somewhat in disbelief and my first thought was, “Yes, I can go to Bali now!” We all looked at each other and screamed because we did not expect to actually win. Logically it didn’t make sense, 60% of our team never coded smart contracts before, but here we were winning a blockchain hackathon. This experience just shows that once you believe in yourself you can achieve anything. We have decided to pursue our idea to make a legitimate company, and part of our prize was access to a coworking space in San Francisco for three months to build the company.

HUBL: What advice do you have for people looking to getting into blockchain dev, talk to your people!

Whitney: My advice is if you aren’t currently in Blockchain and you are still looking for an area in tech to dominate, do Blockchain! A part from the wonders that the technology do, the job market is absolutely booming, and most importantly, you have more control as the jobs are mainly remote. If you have a dream of traveling the world and being a digital nomad, Blockchain can allow you to do so.

I have created a Blockchain Resources doc, that has a bunch of tutorials that you can use to upscale in your Blockchain skills. Take time, do the work and you will definitely reap the rewards. And the community is important, share knowledge, talk with others in the space, make an effort to go to Blockchain related events and you will not regret it.

HUBL: Keep doing your thing in Silicon Valley, and we can’t wait for you to come back to Howard University in the fall and share your lessons learned with the lab!

—  by Alston Clark
Co-Founder, Howard University Blockchain Lab
Story and photo courtesy HUBL
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Alston Clark is a 2018 Computer Science graduate of Howard University and National BDPA’s High School Coding Competition (HSCC) alumnus. Mr. Clark co-founded HUBL, the Center for Blockchain Education, Research, & Innovation, at Howard University.

 


A D V E R T I S E M E N T

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Black Girls Code on ‘GMA’

Black Girls Code founder opens up about breaking barriers in tech on ‘GMA’

New York—Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls CODE, discusses how her program bgc-gma2_feb2018is inspiring young African-American and girls of color to embrace and get deeply involved in STEM programs to discover new career paths across our tech world.

Since their launch in April 2011, Black Girls CODE has had the honor of bringing technology and entertainment to many wonderful girls of color. By teaching the girls programming and game design, they hope to have started the lifelong process of developing in them a true love for technology and the self-confidence that comes from understanding the greatest tools of the 21st century.

— Source and photos: Black Girls CODE and Black Girls CODE New York Chapter

imagine. build. create.  Own a better future. Visit http://blackgirlscode.org/

Tech Divas are welcome, and should apply → CODE WARRIORS
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