Throughout the past few decades, technology has surged forward at a breakneck pace, opening up possibilities that once seemed like pipe dreams. And while the advances in technology stole the headlines, there was another story being told. This was the story of technology working as 'a great diversity equalizer.' You see, technology wasn't supposed to see race, ethnicity, class, or background. At the time, we all thought that the internet could level the playing fields of all voices. As a Black man at the pinnacle of success in the technology industry, I can look back now and realize how challenging this notion was. And the statistics bear out the fact that we still have a long way to go before equality in tech (or anywhere) is achieved. According to the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission, African-Americans make up less than 5% of the technology industry's entire workforce in Silicon Valley. Moreover, the percentage of African American's in executive positions is speculated to be less than 1% - even though African Americans make up over 13% of the national population.
Black entrepreneurs in IT face far more challenges than their white counterparts. Black-founded businesses receive less than 1% of the total venture capital invested in the country. Lack of access to funding is one of the top reasons businesses fail. And the scrutiny that black-owned businesses face is overwhelming. There are lingering perceptions that the owners don't have the knowledge and experience necessary to run a business or that the integrity of the products or services may not be up to par. However, investors and customers have found themselves to be wrong.