By: Nate Ruben
Welcome To The Mecca: Black Tech Mecca Celebrates Successful First Year!
Black Tech Mecca has a vision: “To Transform Chicago into the ‘Global Black Tech Mecca’!” What some of you may be wondering is what exactly does that mean? To me, it means BTM is combining Chicago’s greatest assets and opportunities in a never before seen manner to create a world-wide beacon of prosperity. The beginning of a powerful movement. According to their mission statement, Black Tech Mecca seeks “to develop a thriving tech ecosystem in Chicago for the global black community through scalable, data driven solutions, and specialized initiatives that empower people to radically enhance their lives and change the world through technology.” I encourage you to investigate their website more thoroughly, but meanwhile, I will discuss the following:
1. What I’ve learned watching BTM for 1 year
2. Why I believe BTM will succeed
3. Why Ruben Digital Media believes you should get involved
The Difference a Year Makes
Last year, I attended the Black Tech Mecca Launch event at the old Google offices. Unsure what to expect, I found myself surrounded by people of all walks: teachers, entrepreneurs, artists, tech professionals, corporate executives, and more. Mingling about, I felt a shared curiosity to better understand founder Fabian Elliott‘s vision. Leaving with new contacts and ideas, I yearned for a way to get involved. When BTM announced the #ChiTech2.0 event, I made the commitment not to miss this opportunity. The event was a smashing success! I saw people I had met previously, but also noticed a much larger attendance than the launch. Even more, the room was a buzz from start to finish. Something is happening here, and I think I know what.
Find Fabian on Twitter – @
Seeing Signs of Success
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was Mecca. Thus, Black Tech Mecca will face several setbacks and growing pains as they navigate the tech landscape. However, there is far more going on here than could have been expected for such an ambitious project. Guests grouped themselves into 3 categories: explorers (academics, interested parties), builders (corporate professionals), and trailblazers (entrepreneurs and investors). Notable attendees include Chicago Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. and angel investor Alan Matthew. I also met Kevin Wei, UChicago student and Civic Technology Fellow at Microsoft. The right people are in this room. With the pace at which the marketing is improving (see video below), it is only a matter of time before BTM gains the recognition needed to reach the next level!
Our Call to Action
Pundits, news anchors, politicians, and regular ol’ people love to talk about Chicago’s violence problem. Let’s talk about the real issue: lack of opportunity. It is no coincidence that the communities with the highest crime and unemployment rates also experience the least access to high-speed internet and educational opportunities. Increasing internet access alone will not solve these problems, but increased digital literacy means increased economic opportunity. I’m living proof. 2 years ago I stopped bouncing around from retail jobs and decided to learn web design. Today, I have an impressive body of work. Even more, I experience the positive mental attitude and joy of living each day with a purpose. Imagine the world we could create if we addressed the systemic issues that cripple our society as a whole! Ruben Digital Media supports Black Tech Mecca and we think you should too. Whether you are a black tech professional, are involved in the tech world, or just want to help spread the message, BTM can use your support. Please pass this message along to your network and continue to learn more about how Black Tech Mecca is transforming Chicago into the ‘Global Black Tech Mecca’!