38 episodes

Minority Innovation Weekend is a weekend summit dedicated to aiding minority innovators launch tech-focused startups & exploring emerging technologies.

Minority Innovation Weekend AudioStaq

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Minority Innovation Weekend is a weekend summit dedicated to aiding minority innovators launch tech-focused startups & exploring emerging technologies.

    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-011: Sesie Bonsi

    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-011: Sesie Bonsi

    Sesie K. Bonsi is the Founder and CEO of Bleu. Bleu facilitates mobile transactions utilizing Bluetooth, low energy beacons. Follow them at @bleucoent.

    • 31 min
    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-010: From Spark to Seed and Beyond: Launching a Tech Startup as a Founder of Color

    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-010: From Spark to Seed and Beyond: Launching a Tech Startup as a Founder of Color

    Listen to our panelist as they discuss their experience launching a tech startup as a founder of color.

    • 1 hr 21 min
    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-009: Fireside Chat With Delali Dzirasa, CEO, Fearless

    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-009: Fireside Chat With Delali Dzirasa, CEO, Fearless

    New startup companies are created every day, but many don’t last. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) about 90% of startups fail. Unfortunately, 10% of startups fail within the first year.

    Delali Dzirasa, the CEO and founder of Fearless technology was faced against the odds of failure when he started his business in 2009. However, Dzirasa set a goal in the beginning to create a company that would exist forever. “The why makes your company last more than the competitors,” Dzirasa said.

    Fearless technology builds software with the soul to help solve problems. Technology powers so many things around us but, “so often that is not the same technology that happens to power things like healthcare, things like education, and social justice. So Fearless really exist to fill the gap and provide services and bring technology into that space,” Dzirasa said.

    The name of the company holds a lot of value because it is a reminder to not be afraid. “Funny enough as much as I felt prepared to start a company and I felt like I had what I needed to get going….I was still terrified,” Dzirasa said.

    “It’s pretty hard to wake up every day scared if you have a company called fearless; so, it was kind of an internal reminder,” Dzirasa said.

    Before making the jump to start Fearless, Dzirasa sat down with his family and discussed the sacrifices needed to make his dream a reality. “We ended up selling all of our stuff and putting the parts we didn’t sell in storage. And I convinced my mother to let us move back in the house,” Dzirasa said.

    Dzirasa and his wife moved and built the foundation of Fearless in his mothers’ basement. His wife gave him a year to get the company off the ground and he did. “Being able to cut the expenses and dump everything that came in back into the company is what helped to get the thing off the ground,” Dzirasa said.

    Even though Dzirasa made the sacrifices necessary there were still roadblocks along the way. During the first year of the company Dzirasa also ran a marathon that taught him skills that kept the company going.

    “That marathon coincided with the first year I was launching the company. I actually don’t know if fearless would be here if I didn’t run that marathon at the same time,” Dzirasa said.

    The marathon was 26 miles long, but his trainer taught him to reach for each mile as a step until you reach the final milestone. Delali used that same mind frame when he started his company.

    “It seems like you don’t know where to start and it’s like just do a little bit... and before you know it you look back in a couple of years and you’re like wow we built something pretty cool,” Dzirasa said.

    Fearless has grown tremendously since it first began and continues to deliver innovative digital services to power the things that matter. Although, the company has hit so many goals Dzirasa says this is just the beginning.

    “I don’t think we’ve made it. There’s a lot of things that we still need to accomplish, that is still on our radar. I feel like we’re just scratching the surface. I think we’ve got work to do,” Dzirasa said.

    Most importantly, Dzirasa believes that he must use his resources to help open doors for others. Unfortunately, the number of minorities that create startups and receive funding is extremely low.

    However, “there is a moment that we are in right now. Right now it is hot to be in tech and its hot to black. There is capital looking to be deployed, more people talking about where are the women founders, where are the minority founders, in a way that has never happen before,” Dzirasa said.

    One piece of advice that Dzirasa has for the future minorities in technology is to be honest with yourself, how bad do you really want it? “You may want to be and entrepreneur less than you want to sleep, you may want to be and entrepreneur less than you want to hang out with your friends. So it’s not a matter of do you want

    • 41 min
    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-008: Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-008: Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-008: Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    Dr. Freeman Hrabowski has served as the president of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) since 1992. During his presidency more black students have earned bachelor's degrees in science and technology from UMBC (www.umbc.edu) than from any other non-historically black university in Maryland. More importantly, Hrabowski understands the importance of minority participation and performance in the STEM related fields. Hrabowski sits down with the MIW podcast team and shares his journey as an educator and the legacy he will leave behind at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County following his retirement. Hrabowski holds various prestigious titles including  one of America's Best Leaders, one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, and one of America's 10 Best College Presidents.

    • 45 min
    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-007: Troy LeMaile-Stovall, CEO and Executive Director, TEDCO

    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-007: Troy LeMaile-Stovall, CEO and Executive Director, TEDCO

    Troy LeMaile-Stovall has over two decades of experience in higher education, information/communication technology, investment management, and management consulting. Currently LeMaile-Stovall serves as the CEO of TEDCO, one of the largest hubs for technology companies in Maryland. More importantly, LeMaile-Stovall understands the importance of following your passion, and he has founded two management consulting firms. LeMaile-Stovall sits down with the MIW podcast team and shares how technology start ups can take advantage of every resource available to them. As the CEO of TEDCO, LeMaile-Stovall prides himself in providing economic and educational development to entrepreneurs.

    • 39 min
    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-006: Brisa Renteria, Founder and CEO, Improve Growth

    MIW Disruptive Podcast Episode 2021-006: Brisa Renteria, Founder and CEO, Improve Growth

    Brisa Renteria is an experienced sales selection strategist, and she previously worked for the largest sales training organization in the world. During her career, Renteria has trained over 5,000 sales leaders at technology companies like Microsoft. While working to find the best sales people for companies across the country, Renteria realized that companies can't succeed without a strong foundation. As a result, in the midst of the pandemic, Renteria founded Improve Growth, a company that recruits the right talent for companies the first time. Renteria sits down with the MIW podcast team to share her journey to entrepreneurship and the importance of a great sales team in every company.

    • 43 min

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