“Welcome home, everyone.”
That was how Black and Brown Founders Executive Director Aniyia Williams welcomed the crowd Wednesday at the kickoff of NorthStar 2018, a tech and entrepreneurship conference co-organized by the San Francisco-based nonprofit and the City of Philadelphia.
The conference, which will deploy three days of content aimed at “aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals from the Black and Latinx community,” has its roots in 2017, when Mayor Jim Kenney’s first visit to South by Southwest (SXSW) got him thinking about diversity at national tech events.
“The jobs of the next decades are going to be in tech and innovation,” Kenney said from the stage of South Philly’s 2300 Arena. “Unless our kids have the connections, trainings and tools they need, we’re never going to get out of our poverty situation. We need to give folks the tools they need to meet the potential that god intended for them.”
Here are some of the lines that resonated:
Heather Hiles, Managing Partner at Imminent Capital
- “Entrepreneurship is not like a marathon: it’s more like a series of marathons,” said Hiles, who raised $12 million for her previous company (one of the few Black women to have raised a similar amount and successfully exit a company) and is now an investor. “There’s way to much to do, so remember to pace yourself. It never slows down and you gotta get your mind prepared for that.”
Three @HeatherHiles tips for founders:
? Investors need diverse minds to spot unrecognized opportunities
? Time is your most valuable resource: don't waste in front of the wrong investors
— Roberto Torres (@TorresLuzardo) October 3, 2018
Francesca Escoto, Business Coach, Startups for Social Impact
“You can get investor money for a really crappy idea and have no sales,” said Escoto. The founder and consultant stumped for not taking VC money when it doesn’t make sense, but highlighted the slim chances POC entrepreneurs face when going after venture capital money.
Crystal Etienne, Founder and CEO, PantyProp
“You can’t have a million-dollar dream with a minimum-wage mindset,” said Etienne, who founded an apparel company focused on period underwear for women.
The smash quote of the morning session at NorthStar got attendees taking out their phones to immortalize it in a picture:
“When you are passionate about something, your are going to do it regardless. I had everyone tell me all types of [negative] stuff but to this day, my company is still growing.” – @EtienneCrystal | #NorthStar2018 pic.twitter.com/qkcwFk8K9a
— Black & Brown Founders (@BBFounders) October 3, 2018
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