More than 60-plus BIA members joined the delegation to Portugal’s capital Lisbon. This year’s party was four times larger than the inaugural group that attended last year’s summit.
Sponsored by eBay and Typeform, BIA exhibited an impressive booth, engaged in multiple speaking engagements, and co-hosted multiple events. Special events including a Black Innovation Across the Diaspora dinner reception co-hosted with Myriam Taylor from the Netherlands-based Black Excellence Global.
BIA Chief exec Kelly Burton took to the stage at Web Summit (Nov. 1-4) for multiple speaking engagements. This included a panel discussion on the main stage with BIA members Preston James, CEO and co-founder of Divinc, and Kelli Jones, co-founder and general partner of Sixty8 Capital. Burton spearheaded conversations ranging from how to ‘scale a diverse ecosystem’ to ‘is the economic structure of tech racist?’.
Burton also took part in a panel discussion with Rebecca Parsons, CTO of Thoughtworks, and Anie Akpe, founder of African Women in Tech. The conversation centered on transforming culture alongside technology and exploring best practices for fostering an inclusive and innovative culture within an organization.
With its BIA-hosted masterclass, BIA brought together members Kunbi Tinouye CEO of UrbanGeekz, Tunji Fadiora, Founder of ELEV8 Ventures, Torin Darling Brazzle CEO of IGNITE! Alabama and Alax Foreman, a Chicago-based ecosystem builder, to discuss building an inclusive ecosystem. Tinuoye moderated the panel discussion.
Other events BIA participated in were a digital art show curated by Black Experience Global Movement and Black Public Media, and mixers bringing together supporters of the movement.
Described by Politico as the “world’s premier tech conference”, Lisbon’s November event was a tour-de-force in all senses. Aimed at connecting CEOs, investors, and startups, Web Summit seeks to connect the best in tech globally.
Speakers as varied as the Queen of Jordan, Noam Chomsky, Maelle Gavet, CEO of Techstars and Deborah-Archer President of ACLU all took to the stage to share their wisdom with their fellow tech geeks.
This year saw the conference welcome over 71,000-plus attendees from 160 countries – the largest in-person event for two years since the pandemic. Over 2000 startups came through the doors. Over 300 partners were also present, amongst the top partners were Figma, Google, Binance, and Stripe.
Hollywood actress and comedian Amy Poehler spoke about empowering young women and the role of social media and its impact on young girls. Poehler is the co-creator of Smart Girls, a platform that showcases real women who are changing the world by being unique and authentic to themselves.
Web Summit was a unique opportunity for BIA to facilitate critical discussions centered on equity and inclusion on a global stage. Activities centered on a wider dialogue focused on opening doors and creating change in the innovation economy.
The summit was an opportunity for cross-cultural business exchange and dialogue. BIA was able to bring honest conversations about the impact of black people on innovation, which has up until this point been missing, to those roundtables.
Main Image: Kelli Jones, Preston James, and Kelly Burton on the main stage at Web Summit 2022 (l to r)