Black tech entrepreneur group from Tampa finds partner in UK

A Tampa nonprofit organization formed to help cultivate and promote black technology talent has struck a partnership with a UK group that shares the same mission.

As part of their cross-Atlantic accord, The Mainframe and UKBlack Tech will work jointly on programming, cultivating opportunities in one another’s home base, and interacting with government agencies, corporations, and universities.

“We are trying to expand the resources and the global reach of the members of The Mainframe,” says James Faison, the group’s Founder. “We will be aligning resources, our resources will be their resources and vice versa, and providing a greater deal of exposure for the talent we are working to elevate.”

Faison says the organizations will also work together on joint events, starting with virtual events and eventually hosting one another’s talent.

Established in 2018, The Mainframe is working to cultivate a black technology ecosystem in the Tampa Bay region through workforce development, entrepreneurial support, research and funding, and interactive events and workshops. Members also have access to a network of mentors and that network will expand with the new partnership.

Faison cites a number of statistics that reveal the need to foster opportunities for black tech professionals. Only seven percent of the tech workforce is black, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity. The online platform RateMyInvestor also says that only one percent of the founders of venture-backed companies are black.

A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office also shows that, unlike Asians and Hispanics, the percentage of black workers in the technology sector did not grow from 2005 to 2015.

Founded in 2017, UKBlackTech also seeks to help minorities thrive in the growing tech sector by showcasing the innovative ideas of black tech professionals, bringing together tech industry leaders to share best practices and supporting digital businesses through events and programming.

“This is a great opportunity to work with an overseas organization that has similar goals and ambitions,” UKBlackTech co-founder Mark Martin says in a news release. “The work The Mainframe is doing to build a top tech ecosystem in Tampa, Florida is outstanding. This partnership is a seed that if nurtured and pruned over the next few years no doubt it can blossom into a long-lasting legacy that we will look back in a couple of years from now and marvel.

Besides the newly-minted partnership, Faison says he is working to build-out the programming for The Mainframe, with a focus on partnerships and workforce development.

To learn more about the organizations in this story go to The Mainframe and UKBlackTech.

Here is a link to a government report on diversity in the technology sector.

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Read more articles by Christopher Curry.

Chris Curry has been a writer for the 83 Degrees Media team since 2017. Chris also served as the development editor for a time before assuming the role of managing editor in May 2022. Chris lives in Clearwater. His professional career includes more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily in Ocala and Gainesville, before moving back home to the Tampa Bay Area. He enjoys the local music scene, the warm winters and Tampa Bay's abundance of outdoor festivals and events. When he's not working or spending time with family, he can frequently be found hoofing the trails at one of Pinellas County's nature parks.

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