2021 Visionaries to Watch: Black Women Talk Tech, Esosa Ighodaro-Johnson & Regina Gwynn Co-Founders
Esosa Ighodaro-Johnson and Regina Gwynn, the Co-Founders of Black Women Talk Tech(BWTT), celebrate the organization’s 5th year of “Roadmap to Billions,” a conference built from the perspective of Black women.
The organization empowers Black women who drive innovation around the world within untapped markets that can unlock billion-dollar opportunities.
This is the only tech conference created by Black female founders for Black female founders and supporters of the community. It showcases the brilliance of Black women building scalable companies while building deep connections and creating real funding opportunities. Attendees gain insight and learn valuable lessons from those paving the way to success.
Black Women Talk Tech Interview
You celebrated five years of Roadmap to Billions this year. What can you say about the growth of this initiative now versus when it first started?
Black Women Talk Tech: Our first conference was in 2015 at a small Airbnb in Connecticut. We found that our fellowship and sharing our businesses with each other was really empowering.
That first year was really something special. You could feel the synergy in the room, so we said, “we have to try and do this again.” We decided to put it out there to see if we could find more Black women tech founders and create a conference just for them.
At the time, we didn’t realize we had just created the first-ever conference for Black women technology founders. Our 5th Annual Roadmap to Billions conference recently took place in NYC. That is a huge milestone for an organization, especially during a pandemic. BWTT is now a registered non-profit with regional chapters across the globe, and the conference is the largest convening of Black female tech entrepreneurs. The organization’s success has also led to the expansion of Black Men Talk Tech and Black Students Talk Tech, as well as the company’s first acquisition of Black Female Founders (BFF).
What type of impact do you want Black Women Talk Tech to create in the future?
Black Women Talk Tech: Black female leaders have always been here. We’ve always been leaders at the community level but weren’t acknowledged until now. It affects policy changes when more Black women can advocate for their communities.
Our mission is to inspire and support Black women to build the next billion-dollar tech company that will revolutionize the way we live our everyday lives. That unicorn is out there, and we intend to stand beside her with love and support.
Why is it important for Black women to seek out these types of resources and utilize them to further their careers?
Black Women Talk Tech: Black women continue to face challenges in entrepreneurship, especially regarding funding. We also face higher interest rates as opposed to other races and gender. There is an urgent need for talent to scale amazing opportunities that are out there.
Through Black Women Talk Tech, we create doors and various opportunities for non-dilutive capital from grants and pitch competitions. To quote Shirley Chisholm, “If They Don’t Give You A Seat At The Table, Bring A Folding Chair.”
There wasn’t a roadmap to billions designed for us, so we created our own. That’s how Black Women Talk Tech began. We created a tech conference designed specifically for Black women tech entrepreneurs to create a space where black women could for once, be seen and heard and have their ideas invested in. Our conference is now the largest convening of Black women tech entrepreneurs and technologists.
Today, our mission is to help Black women dream big and build the next billion-dollar tech or scalable company.
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