It really couldn’t come at a better time given the events of this year. We’ve already seen evidence that BAME people will be disproportionately affected by the pandemic in both diminished job prospects and likelihood to fall into poverty.
The tech space was already lagging, but COVID has widened inequality to an even more unacceptable point. And following the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, Black Tech Fest has stepped up to offer a platform to BAME people in the industry who need to be heard.
Black Tech Fest (BTF) is a first-of-its-kind digital conference and movement aiming to help Black professionals expand their network and influence while celebrating the boldest innovations created by the Black community.
“We created Black Tech Fest as we believe that Tech has a huge role in both amplifying systemic issues of inequity but creating new innovations to solve it. Traditionally, initiatives around people of colour tend to be internally focussed rather than using their collective platforms to drive a wider discussion. Black Tech Fest will be a huge opportunity to take this conversation global.” – Black Tech Fest Chairman and Founder of Colour In Tech, Dion McKenzie
Running from 13-15 October, in the middle of Black History Month, the timing could not be more urgent. This year has been a turning point for Black people. As a matter of necessity, the Black Lives Matter movement has proliferated in 2020, while COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting BAME people. Black and minority ethnic people are twice as likely to be unemployed or live in poverty as a result of the pandemic.
BTF, as well as being a place where innovation, creativity, and excellence are celebrated, is a platform for Black people in the UK to voice their concerns to executives from some of the world’s leading companies.
Advancing the conversation of inclusion and creating meaningful change
Diversity in tech has a long way to go: Only three per cent of the UK’s tech industry are Black and minority ethnic. They are three times less likely to be employed after graduating from university. Only one per cent of venture capital goes to Black founders. It is this and more that BTF will discuss, with no holds barred, over three days.
Alongside this pressing discussion, Black Tech Fest will celebrate the diversity in tech that we do have, featuring executives from Microsoft, WPP, Adobe, DeepMind and Box.