Inclusion Track Set for Los Angeles Blockchain Conference LA Blockchain Summit
Passed on April 5, 2012 by President Barack Obama with bi-partisan support, The JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act was intended to open up early-stage startup capital for groups that didn’t previously have access to capital structures or networks. However, if you look at the various industries that the JOBS Act has affected, such as blockchain, it’s apparent that there is still a lack of authentic, representation, inclusion, and opportunity for certain communities, particularly communities of color, in America and abroad, that have been historically denied access to skills, jobs, business opportunities, and capital. Out of the mission to make tech more equitably diverse and representative, the Inclusion Track at LA Blockchain Summit was born through the work of Rodney Sampson, Chairman and CEO at Opportunity Hub.
Rodney Sampson is heralded as the leading inclusive innovation, entrepreneurship and investment ecosystem builder in the world, particularly given his mission to ensure that under-tapped communities have equitable access to the multi-generational wealth creation opportunities afforded in the innovation economy as definitive paths to reducing poverty and the racial wealth gap everywhere.
Creating A More Inclusive Tech, Startup & Venture Ecosystem
Opportunity Hub (OHUB), co-founded in 2013 in Atlanta, GA by Rodney Sampson as a follow-up to the highly successful Kingonomics’ conferences, OHUB grew to become the largest Black owned multi-campus entrepreneurship center and technology hub in the United States definitely focused on diversity, inclusion, and equity as a business and investment thesis for the development of high demand technical talent and high growth startup companies. Each year, over 15,000 people walked through OHUB’s doors to learn, engage, build & work.
Today, OHUB’s nationally respected programs and initiatives, HBCU@SXSW, OHUB@Flatiron, and DEIS are enabling interactive festivals like SXSW and Crypto Invest Summit (LA Blockchain Summit); and over forty tech companies like Uber, Amazon, and Tesla to operationalize diversity, equity & inclusion across corporate governance, human resources, procurement, innovation, go to market, and social impact.
Creating a More Diverse Ecosystem In Blockchain
On the heels of announcing a major DEIS partnership with Uber at SXSW and with VentureBeat at their recent BLUEPRINT in York, PA, OHUB is partnering with Crypto Invest Summit to bring DEIS to the industry.
“To hire a diverse team, founders can deploy what we call DEIS (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion As A Strategy). OHUB offers this as a service and solution,” Sampson said. “Imagine if every company represented at LA Blockchain Summit deployed a DEIS in their business. We’re here to help them. Training, skills development and job placement is very important as well,” he said.
Debunking Myths is a Path to Definitive Solutions
Part of the issue with teaching about diversity is debunking myths that are commonly held by entrepreneurs. It’s an unlearning process. In a recent article that Sampson wrote for Entrepreneur, he explained those myths.
“Myth #1: It’s about diversity and inclusion and belonging. Well sort of, but not really. Yes, “representation,” “having a voice at the table,” and “feeling good” about being at the table are important. However, having the opportunity to build the table from nothing and equitably “eat from the table” once its set is what it’s really about. More so than diversity and inclusion, it’s all about equity, racial equity in particular,” Sampson wrote in the article. Read the entire article and the other myths.
Instead, there needs to be an adoption of DEIS with a partner network that is on board with the mission of making tech more diverse. For now, blockchain and capital formation remains elusive for groups that could benefit the most. Investment opportunities are still concentrated in places that are not historically representative of the entire population.
“Currently the coasts – West and East Coast, California, New York, Massachusetts – represent the majority of venture capital investing – more than 75% – of the $130B invested in 2018. However, less than 1% was invested in Black and Latinx founders. Blockchain isn’t really diverse when you look through the lens of African or Latinx Americans. Herein exists the opportunity for Blockchain to get it right as we head toward the future of work and 4th Industrial Revolution,” Sampson said.
An STO Dedicated to Social Impact Through Inclusive Ecosystem Building
To help promulgate and sustain this mission at scale, Sampson has put together a team that will launch an STO that will be the first social impact inclusive ecosystem building token ($OHUB). Advised by Alon Goren and Josef Holm of Goren Holm Ventures, David Weild IV, Former Vice Chairman of NASDAQ, Marc Boiron of FisherBroyles, Freddie Allen of Republic, Chris Cole of Havoc Systems and Dawn Dickson of PopCom, OHUB is committed to making history with itsthe future proposed launch of its RegCF and RegA+ offering and subsequent tokenization in the coming months.
As of note, Dawn Dickson, founder of PopCom, is known as the first Black woman to successfully raise funds for a STO. Her company successfully raised nearly a million dollars on StartEngine this past month.
To begin socializing the opportunities in crypto and blockchain in communities of color, OHUB, LA Blockchain Summit & Republic will host webinars to OHUB’s 4,000+ student and young professional members at 250 colleges and universities across the country. To spark this initiative, Republic will be giving the OHUB ecosystem its Notes token for free. Mayra Ceja and Sampson will make this announcement during LA Blockchain Summit’s first ever mainstage panel entitled “Scaling Access To Blockchain & Crypto for All” this Tuesday at 10:45AM PT.
Collectively, these initiatives will empower the launch of a sustainedn initiative that could change the course of technology history by ensuring that all that know and desire to be included are included.
“Blockchain, crypto, STO’s, JOBS Act offer an alternative form of capital formation for groups that don’t have access to networks of capital, Sampson said. “If LA Blockchain Summit, OHUB, and the industry partner to work on this and we get this right, we will change the world, forever.”
Emerging industries in tech such as blockchain still have a long way to become truly diverse and representative industries. There is a large unlearning process that needs to take place to transform entrepreneurs into sensitive business people that understand what it means to, in the words of Rodney Sampson, “build the table from nothing and equitably “eat from the table” once it’s set.”
To learn more about Rodney Sampson and OHUB’s work, you can visit his website right here.
See what you can do to make tech more diverse and inclusive at Rodney’s panel discussion. Come to LA Blockchain Summit on April 9 and 10 in Los Angeles. We have less than one week until the event. Be sure to get your tickets soon! Use this limited code for access: OHUB.