Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Why didn't more African-Americans show up?

InnoVenture 2006 was fantastic, except that we missed a base of talented people in the community.

Last year I noted:
InnoVenture 2005 was a smashing success. 450 people attended... Why were less than 1% of the 450 people who attended InnoVenture black?... What can we do to attract more blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities to InnoVenture 2006?
Two young African-American leaders, Marvin Rogers and David Mitchell, stepped up. They organized the InnoVenture Prism Initiative, designed to attract the best and brightest young talent representing the diversity of the community. A successful pre-InnoVenture event was held February 23rd, attended by 70+ people. For InnoVenture itself, the committee organized a series of speakers, which the conference funded, targeted to the a diverse base young talent.

At InnoVenture 2006, out of 600 participants, a handful of African-Americans attended, which is better than the 2 we attracted at InnoVenture 2005. After all the Prism Initiative did, I confess that I am completely humbled by the observation of one attendee, “I only saw one person of color – and that happened to be the dinner speaker.”

Now there were actually a small number of African-Americans at InnoVenture. But that doesn't matter, because perceptions are reality. We haven’t tapped into all of the talent in the community until those who attend look like the community.

We have some dedicated individuals helping us to address this issue, which is very very hard to solve. I look forward to the continued leadership of our Prism Committee to help InnoVenture attract “the best and brightest talent reflecting the diversity of the community” as we move forward.

And, like last year, I'll still interested in any thoughts you have about how we can attract more blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities to InnoVenture 2007?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in discussing this issue with you as well as Marvin Rogers & David Mitchell.

Having been on the faculty at Clark Atlanta University for 22 years working primarily with MBAs, I know the desire for being entrepreneurial exists but...
Coming to Allen University in August 2004, I found the same interest but...
I have been researching entrepreneurial behavior, thinking, decision-making, and support systems since 1992. An amswer to your question is complex but historically answers have been singular and simplistic.

Interested in conversing?

(w)tneil@allenuniversity.edu (h)penguin@sc.rr.com
please respond to both


Thomas C. Neil, Ph.D.