Capping off Latino Heritage Month, a weekend-long tech festival highlighting the achievements of Latino entrepreneurs is slated to take place in Oakland from Sept. 29 through Oct. 1. Scroll below to see pictures of last year’s event and to find out details about its upcoming return.
All told, more than 500 entrepreneurs will converge in Oakland, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and New York for the two-day tech festival, officially titled “Latinx in Tech.” Organizers chose the gender-neutral term “Latinx” to signify its inclusivity to all genders.
The Oakland event is the joint effort of the Kapor Center for Social Impact, an organization that aims to close the diversity gap in the tech industry. The tech festival kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29 at the Kapor Center (2148 Broadway) in Oakland.
On the final day of the event, organizers will present one entrepreneur or a group of entrepreneurs with an award for finding innovative solutions to problems that disproportionately affect the Latinx community. Last year, the group that won created software that helped facilitate money transfers, allowing people to send money to families outside of the U.S.
The event advertises itself as a way to help Latino entrepreneurs reach their goals. Tech novices and allies with big ideas are also invited to attend.
Throughout the weekend, industry experts and marketing specialists will be on hand to give advice and communicate about problems affecting the Latinx community, according to Kim Bardakian, the director of media relations at the Kapor Center.
Tech workers at Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter are on average 56 percent white, 37 percent Asian, 3 percent Hispanic and 1 percent black, according to 2015 data. Those Bay Area companies have all released statements expressing their commitment to diversity, but people of color and women are still underrepresented relative to their share of the population. Organizers hope to instill young people with the confidence to enter STEM fields.
Census data show that by 2060, over a quarter of the entire U.S. population will be of Latinx heritage, equivalent to an estimated 119 million people. Ultimately, the tech weekend focuses on harnessing that economic power to give back and do good within Latinx communities.