Last week, Interactive One Chief Technology Officer Navarrow Wright interviewed CNN television personality Soledad O’Brien about the network’s popular Black in America series that will premiere this November.
The fourth edition, which will surely focus on the re-election campaign of President Obama — and the issue of Black unemployment — will also dedicate a large part of its attention on the NewMe Aceelerator and its efforts to push more African-Americans into the technology field.
Wright has spent his career in the technology field helping web properties like BET, Global Grind, and now Interactive One reach their maximum potential. But many say his greatest work has yet to come with his push to integrate a mostly white tech industry.
One of the movements that he’s currently in support of is the NewMe Accelerator, which is an accelerator for minority led start-ups that will house a handful of visiting start-ups during the summer of 2011 in Silicon Valley. It was founded by Angela Benton. The program places 8 African American start-up founders in a house in Mountain View, CA., where for 9 weeks they will work on their products and meet people from companies like Facebook, Zynga and Foursquare to name a few. This program is groundbreaking and important for a few reasons, here are a few:
* less the 1% of all internet companies are founded by African Americans
* There are few African Americans employed at any of the leading startups ( ex. Facebook,Twitter, Google)
* There are no programs that exist that show minorities the skills they need to be able to effectively start an internet company.
Here is Navarrow in his own words speaking about his experience at CNN.
As part of our sponsorship I am serving as the primary mentor for the start-up companies. I hosted the opening event at Google, hosted a private dinner conversation with the founders, participated in 1on1 mentoring sessions with them and this week I will coach them on their final pitches and host the demo day which will be on Thursday of this week. I was also fortunate enough to be interviewed by Soledad O’Brien about the program and about my thoughts around African Americans in technology in general as part of their documentary. We were also fortunate enough to interview her for newsone .com last Wed about her charity event on the 12th and about the documentary so look for those posts very soon. This sponsorship will allow interactive One’s name to be on a national stage come November and we also played a crucial part in a game changing program.
Three of their visiting start-ups are helmed by two African-American males — and one female — who recently blogged on our platform about their individual experiences.