Black Tech Fest 2021 starts tomorrow

The three-day festival is free to register and will celebrate Black culture and innovation in the UK’s tech industry

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Helena Young
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Black Tech Fest – the first-of-its-kind virtual conference, which brings together Black innovators, creators and future and present leaders – will kick off tomorrow for the second year running.

First launched in 2020, the festival is a digital conference and movement which champions diversity and innovation in tech, as well as celebrating Black culture and supporting Black professionals and entrepreneurs by helping to expand their network.

Running from 19-21 October, during Black History Month, BTF will host around 6,000 attendees for three-days of virtual events and conversations around technology, inclusion and innovation.

Tech brands and leaders lend their voice to the cause

The event has been organised by business group Informa Tech and Colorintech, a non-profit organisation founded in 2016 that strives to make Europe the most inclusive tech hub in the world, by making companies more accessible for ethnic minorities.

In 2019, the Inclusive Tech Alliance Report by Inclusive Boards found that BAME (Black, Asian, Minority ethnic) people made up just 8.5% senior tech leaders. BTF will discuss this hiring gap and the other challenges to building a more diverse tech workforce, alongside speakers from top technology brands including TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Dell, Experian, and more.

Amongst the event speakers is Lord Simon Woolley, who was recently voted as one of the top 10 most powerful Black Britons on The Powerlist 2022, alongside Marcus Rashford and Michaela Coel.

Woolley co-founded Operation Black Vote, a not-for-profit national organisation in 1996. The charity aims to address the Black British and ethnic minority voter registration deficit and encourage political participation through citizenship projects.

Tickets are free and anyone is invited to attend. You can sign up for the event here.

What’s on?

Read on for a full breakdown of the festival’s agenda:

Kelsey Robb, Creator Partnerships Manager, TikTok, speaking in ‘There’s more to tech than coding’ on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 12:00 PM to 12:25 PM

Akua Gyekye, Co-Lead of Public Policy, WhatsApp, speaking at ‘In conversation with Facebook’s EMEA Public Policy Manager for Whatsapp’ on Thurs, October 21 1:00 PM to 1:25 PM

Sade Ayodele, Head of Global Communications, Tidal speaking in ‘How do we get more Black Women into leadership?’ on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 5:30 PM to 5:55 PM.

Honey Ajuwon, Head of Capital Markets Technology, Natwest speaking in a session entitled ‘How do we get more Black Women into leadership?’ on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 5:30 PM to 5:55 PM

Karen Blackett, U.K. Country Manager, WPP –  ‘Responding in Times of Racial Crisis’, Wednesday, October 20, 2021 1:30 PM to 1:55 PM

Fifi Kara, Product Designer, Facebook and Orezi Aki, Product Designer, Twitter  – participating in a discussion on ‘Building your career in UX’ on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 1:30 PM to 1:55 PM.

Ebum Ani-Agbaje, Partner Systems Engineer, Dell studied electrical and electronic engineering at UCL. She is speaking at ‘Getting a job after you graduate’ on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 4:00 PM to 4:25 PM.

Lauren Mathurin, Vice President in the Early Stage Practice, Silicon Valley Bank is speaking in ‘Raising finance whilst being Black’ on Thurs, Oct 21, 2:00 PM to 2:25 PM.

Tobi Ajala, Founder & Creative Director, TECHTEE – speaking at ‘What tech should we be building?’ Tuesday, October 19, 2021 5- 5:45 PM.

Fauzia van der Leeuw, Program Manager, Talent Programs, Google speaking in the session ‘How to get a job at Google’ on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 3:00 PM to 3:25 PM

Ladi Greenstreet Consultant, Accenture Ventures, ‘Roots in VC: how to get into Venture Capital’, on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM

Professor Kehinde Andrews – ‘In conversation with Kehinde Andrews’, Wednesday, October 20, 2021 3:30 PM to 3:55 PM

Lord Simon Woolley is speaking in a fireside chat on ‘30 years of energising Black Activism’ at Black Tech Fest 2021, on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 12:00 PM.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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