We bring together authentic diverse, inclusive and equitable innovators, entrepreneurs & investors to disrupt poverty and close the wealth gap for all.

From Spelman to Microsoft

From Spelman to Microsoft

From Spelman to Microsoft

From Spelman to Microsoft

From Spelman to Microsoft

Coding while black: A day in the life as told by our founder, Rodney Sampson

The ideation, startup, launch and now scale of our coding and software development initiatives have been a priority ever since I first sat down with John Saddington on April 3, 2014 at Opportunity Hub’s first campus in Atlanta, GA to discuss ways that we could partner together. We’ve come along way since that first meeting.

The Why

Why? Since the release and launch of Kingonomics, we’ve been focused on discovering and implementing the quickest paths to accelerate the close of our nation’s racial wealth gap; and based upon our exposure, experience and diligence, there are at least three ways that we know to create opportunities that can create wealth for sure.

Become a software developer. Just look at the data regarding the related salaries.

Start, build, grow, scale and exit a tech company.

Invest in the startups that grow, scale and are acquired.

Our pilot.

To start, in the Spring of 2015, I asked The Iron Yard to fund $60,000 in full and partial scholarships at its Atlanta campus. They said yes. We announced the partnership during SXSW. It was a success. Eight students had the opportunity to attend The Iron Yard’s Front End Bootcamp during the Summer of 2015. These students successfully completed their bootcamps and are now working as software developers and building startups.

Our minimum viable product.

In September 2015, I met with Michael Sterling, former Executive Director of The City of Atlanta’s Workforce Development Agency. With a Post-it note as our canvas, we mapped out the first workforce program of its kind in the nation that would train “opportunity youth” as junior software developers, corporate innovators and entrepreneurs. CodeStart, a year-long, residence based intensive training program was born.

Michael and I were intentional about launching the program in Q116 or the first quarter of 2016; and it would take a multiplicity of stakeholders to make it happen. The Iron Yard would teach Java. TechSquare Labs would house the cohort and provide corporate innovation and entrepreneurial training. Gifted Education Foundation would provide career readiness. The Memo would provide salary negotiation. The Community Foundation for Financial Literacy would provide financial literacy. Georgia Community Clinic would provide mental health support. Approximately 100 youth attended the open house; and 15 students, ages 18-24 were admitted into the inaugural cohort.

All hell broke loose.

During the first week of #CodeStart, one of our students was involved in an incident that magnified Atlanta’s intersection of income inequality and access to opportunity. Predatory financial “services” collided with racial profiling, police brutality, and mental and verbal abuse. Internalized institutional racism, classism and discrimination were all at play.

Here’s the Storify we published, organizing our narrative around the events of the day.

Today, seven of the students are working full time at Emory University’s Biomedical Informatics Lab and Morehouse College of Medicine. Two former students are building their startup.

Long story short, we made it through that day and year; but learned, that these programs aren’t just designed to help young men and women hack code - but hack life.

Today, we are socializing a statewide version of CodeStart and would welcome your collaboration and partnership to expand nationwide.

Our scale.

After confirming that Megan Smith would visit TechSquare Labs in February 2016, I immediately called Peter Barth, Founder & CEO, The Iron Yard to attend. He flew in with his board chair a day before the TechHire roundtable. We met in our front conference room and we got right to the point. I pitched Peter on scaling our successful pilot funding scholarships at every one of their current and future campuses.

He listened with intense passion and reiterated his ongoing and evolving commitment to creating a meaningful and authentic diversity and inclusion initiative at The Iron Yard and beyond. After about an hour and a half, we concluded our meeting. That evening, I received an email from Peter committing to this idea and outlining a way forward together.

A little over two years since Peter and I met, we came together to announce the largest commitment to train people of color, women, veterans and citizens with disabilities with barriers to opportunity for the technology jobs of today and tomorrow.

Today, that commitment has manifested as the Tech Opportunity Fund. In March 2017, we changed the name of the fund to #YesWeCode Fund in partnership with Van Jones & DreamCorps.

Over the next five years, the #YesWeCode Fund aims to award $100 million in diversity scholarships to in-need students from groups that are currently underrepresented in the tech workforce including women and minorities. The Iron Yard has committed $40 million in full-tuition scholarships to the school’s immersive programs over the next five years, Code Fellows has committed $5 million in full-tuition scholarships, and Operation HOPE will serve as the Fund’s financial literacy and entrepreneur training partner.

Visit the #YesWeCodeFund website.

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From Spelman to HBCU@SXSW to Microsoft

 

Launching An Inclusive Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Anywhere

 

From Spelman to HBCU@SXSW to Microsoft

 

Launching An Inclusive Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Anywhere

 

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Opportunity Hub is authentically invested in creating inclusive innovation economics - from our founder's work with Kingonomics, Sharktank & TechSquare Labs.