On Wednesday, June 15th through Friday, June 17th, Black Women Talk Tech held its 6th Annual Roadmap to Billions conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York. The event was hybrid, offering in-person programming as well as virtual activations and live-stream content for the online audience.
Black Women Talk Tech, founded by Esosa Ighodaro-Johnson and Regina Gwynn, is a collective of Black women tech founders identifying, supporting, and encouraging Black women to build the next billion-dollar business. Roadmap to Billions is the largest tech gathering for Black women in the world. Over 1,500 founders were in attendance, in person or virtually, for the only annual tech conference created exclusively by Black women tech founders for Black female and non-binary founders and allies.
The conference is built from the perspective of women with a goal to showcase the brilliance of Black women in tech, create a stage for their experiences, foster deep connections, and create real funding opportunities. Attendees were able to gain insight and valuable lessons to inspire and guide them on their entrepreneurial and executive journeys through the tech landscape.
This year’s conference featured activations such as the Opening Night Pajama Jammy Jam, Pitch Competition, and an NFT + Crypto Corner. There was also a wellness and beauty lounge offering attendees massages, sound baths, and mani-pedis, plus hydration provided by BLK Water and Essentia Water. Lunch options were provided each day by Black Owned food trucks aligned for guests to enjoy and a networking happy hour for conference attendees on both evenings, sponsored by Diageo.
Some of the 3-Day event’s key speakers included Andrea Donkor, SVP, Regulatory and Consumer Compliance at PayPal; Carla Harris, Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Morgan Stanley; Bakari Brock, Senior Director of Global Partnerships at Microsoft for Startups; Jewel Burks Solomon, Head of Google for Startups; Kezia Williams, CEO of The Black Upstart; Janis Bowdler, Counselor for Racial Equity at the US Department of Treasury; Kelly Ifill, Founder and CEO at Guava; David C.Williams, Assistant Vice President- Automation at AT&T; and Kenneth Ebie, Executive Director & Chief Development Officer, Black Entrepreneurs NYC.
The agenda for the conference was split up into five categories: leadership, product, and technology, finance and operations, culture and marketing, and crypto corner. Some of the panels included “Black Women in Web 3.0,” “The Future Innovation Investments of the Federal Government,” and “Leveraging Future Opportunities for Today.” There, speakers and panelists discussed how to turn genius into generational wealth, how leaders can do a better job of inspiring companies, and “north star” metrics, also known as the metrics that are driving our work.
Overall, the event was a success, highlighting the ways Black women tech entrepreneurs can get ahead in the field and who to connect with to do it. Black women, along with other minority groups, often struggle to access the same opportunities as their counterparts, but with Black Women Talk Tech and Roadmap to Billions, Black women can feel empowered to create their own path to billions.
Supporting organizations included BLCK VC and Upfront Ventures who curated the conversations “Are You Ready To Fundraise?” “How We Break into Venture,” and more.