HBCU Hackathons: Black Founders Highlight Tech Industry

HBCU students work on tech concepts during Hackathon lead by the Black Founders.
HBCU students work on tech concepts during Hackathon lead by the Black Founders.

Founded in 2011, Black Founders is an organization dedicated to promote diversity in the technology industry and is focused on increasing black tech entrepreneurship. By the means of hackathons entitled HBCUHacks, they provide African-American college students interested in technology, design, and engineering an opportunity to take their ideas to the next level.

At Hackathons, students collaborate for a short and intense time period (usually 24-72 hours) to build a web or mobile application. During the event, individuals form teams and learn what it takes to build an app from an idea to working prototype. Thereafter, they get an opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of tech experts and win cash and prizes. Additionally, students are introduced to local entrepreneurs, founders of startups, and sponsors for possible internships and job opportunities. While, students don’t need advanced programming experience to attend an HBCUHack, familiarity with basic programming concepts is certainly preferred. Mentors are available during the event for help.

Black founders have led three successful hackathons till date. The first event took place on February 8-9, 2014 in Atlanta at Hyepotamus, an entrepreneurial startup and collaboration facility. Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark-Atlanta University were the participants. Second and third HBCUHacks followed at Howard University and Morgan State University respectively.

How to host a hackathon event?

In order to become an HBCUhack Host, you must be currently a student at a historically black college or university in good standing or a staff or alumni at an HBCU. Moreover, you should be able to reserve a location for the event on campus with wifi access for the guests, should be available to promote the event through college network, and have a team of organizers working with you.

For more information on the hosting an HBCUhack or upcoming events, visit the Black Founders website. All you need to attend a hackathon is an idea, a laptop, and enough energy to keep you going for 24 hours!

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