Diversity To Be Celebrated At This Year’s Techstars Startup Week

By Tim Feran
The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) At this years “Techstars Startup Week” in Ohio there will be a focus on encouraging minorities to get into the tech industry and startup world.

The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

For the past three years, Techstars Startup Week Columbus has brought together company founders, CEOs, advisers and experts for panels and events. Each of the past programs has had a different focus: Smart City last year, a practical guide to digital technology the year before that, and networking the first year.

This year’s fourth event, which will run from Monday to May 11, aims as always to educate and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, but it also will celebrate the diversity of Columbus’ startup culture, organizers said.

Diversity has been somewhat lacking in previous programs, said Branden Jones, who, with twin brother, Bruce, created BLK hack. It’s an educational and inspirational monthly event series designed to help minorities get into the tech industry and startup world.

The Jones brothers have been tapped as lead organizers of this year’s Startup Week program.

The entrepreneurial duo owns an office-cleaning company and is working on a startup, Fliqs, an online streaming platform that will aggregate old African-American TV shows and films not shown by networks or offered on streaming services.

“We have our own startup and went to a lot of different events,” including the past two Startup Weeks, Branden Jones said.

“We saw that there was a lack of diversity. We’ve been pretty successful in getting more black and brown people (through BLK hack), so when we were approached to lead Startup Week, in the process of recruiting volunteers for the team, we made sure it was diverse … and with that effort, it became a theme.”

The event — sponsored by JPMorgan Chase and Techstars, a global organization focused on inspiring young entrepreneurs — will feature nine industry-focused tracks for attendees, including Smart City, sports and entertainment, food and beverage, and tech and user experience.

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