There is a movement underway to add diversity to the Tech community, yet Blacks, and particularly Black women, have not jumped at the opportunity. It’s time to start “Talking Tech” as an economic driver.
Business partners Bonnie Sandy and Antonio Mark have challenged a group of their peers to accept the responsibility and take the lead.
As a partner of Tibiae Tech, Inc and the Brooklyn Community Liaison for the Newme community, Sandy accepted another challenge; to pull together a Brooklyn Business Conference/Expo with a tech focus to coincide with the influx of Caribbean nationals expected to arrive in New York City during the West Indian Labor Day celebrations! Her focus is to ensure our community is not left behind in the digital revolution.
Educating and informing on the current state of development is a vital part of that process.
To ratchet up the effort, a call is being made for sponsors/partners and others vested in the economic development of our community to participate in this event.
Growth is natural for Sandy, a Black woman, who has been in the New York Tech room from 2005. Since then she has shared what she has learned with the community. At the beginning of this year, she agreed to partner with Mark and became Lead Architect of Tibiae Tech, Inc. The New York-based tech startup is in the business of change management; addressing the glaring problem of the lack of minority-owned businesses in today’s tech sector and the adaptation of technology in today’s business culture.
For her, it meant putting aside her design work so that she could reconfigure an approach that was culturally relevant. Seven months into the process she understands the gargantuan task they have undertaken but realizes there is no other solution. “It is overwhelming, but we are focused on change!” Sandy opined.
Ten cofounders and partnering sponsors later, brings them to the next phase – securing a physical space. Each cofounder is an expert in their field; whether it be consulting or servicing local entrepreneurs. The first order of business was to bring everyone up to date with the technology, where it is currently and where it is headed, and then strategizing on the cultural adaptation.
Tibiae Tech, Inc. will provide the technology, funding, mentorship, incubation, marketing and distribution to enable experts in niche local micro sectors who answer the question “What would you do with technology if you could?” to access and develop technologies, focused on scalable next generation concepts.
There is a lot of talk about “Changing the Ratio” and increasing the number of minorities and women on the startup scene. Tibiae Tech’s goal is to increase the number of minority, especially Black-owned startups within the New York tech landscape. Too few know of The New York Tech Meetup, a non-profit organization with over 25,000 members supporting the New York Technology community. In a population estimated at 8,244,910 in 2011, that is a mere dent, yet that sector is thriving. Of the more than 350 startups on the Tech Made in NY about 85-90 percent is hiring.
For starters, many do not know the “difference between a startup and a small business.” One google search states; “both are exactly the same, except how the owner thinks about their business. A small business owner is focused on doing it tough for a number of years and hoping they can make it as a business. However a startup thinks big, they dream of their application/product or service being used by millions around the world and funded by VC’s and that is how they direct their business. Small business owners think about doing things slowly and building their business over time.”
According to Sandy, “It takes 50-58 hours to plan a new business.” While some startups are designing that blueprint in as little as three days, small businesses may take six months to a year or more — often at a huge financial cost, that eventually causes their demise.
Then there is the challenge of execution. Having an idea is one thing, successfully bringing an idea to market is another. Many local businesses are unable to take advantage of new and emerging technology to address issues in their sector. Few understand the scope and capabilities and as such they are unable to innovate, cut cost and increase turnover and revenue. On the other hand few tech developers and even investors understand the challenges within the sectors. Local mom and pop businesses require the same resources and must execute at the same level to ensure success.
Earlier this month Tibiae Tech began leading a select group on a self-guided online series that will bring to light where current technology is and how small businesses can leverage their experience and eventually create startups that will not only “address needs in their niche but by adapting early, garner valuable market share.”
Participants were asked to set aside a minimum of 28 hours to research and educate themselves. Free to the first users, this version would be followed by workshops and tech talks during August. tuberiam.tibiaetech.com