Story by Barbara Grady
“This is history y’all,” said software engineer Ayori Selassie from the platform at Startup Weekend/Black Male Achievement on Sunday night. “This is the first event that has happened like this in the entire world. So if you are here, you are in the middle of making history.”
This past weekend, hundreds of people poured into Impact HUB Oakland’s new headquarters for a hackathon that not only produced 14 viable computer applications/ business startups but also turned about 40 African-American teenagers into potential entrepreneurs after they spent two days coding, problem-solving and business planning alongside engineering and business professionals.
By Sunday night, 50 ideas that participants had pitched Friday night had been honed, through brainstorming and coding, into 14 actual apps, most designed for use on smartphones. Then, 14 teams pitched their apps and business plans to a panel of venture capital and investment professionals.