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5 reasons Chicago is the next Black tech mecca

Photo credit: LeVern A. Danley III

Photo credit: LeVern A. Danley III

Fabian Elliott is a hybrid entrepreneur. As founder and CEO of Black Tech Mecca Inc., he is leading his organization to transform Chicago into a “global Black tech mecca” through the development of a thriving Black tech ecosystem. This is done by creating a tech community that has a strong network and access to information and resources. Their strength also lies in measuring success, directing growth, and championing progress within the Black technology community.

Elliott is also an advertising technology consultant at Google. He recently completed his inaugural term as the appointed global co-chair of Google’s Black Google Network. Elliott has been featured in Ebony, Black Enterprise, ChicagoInno, dnainfo, and the Chicago Reader 2015 People issue.

Elliott shared with rolling out why he feels Chicago is the next Black technology mecca.         

  1. Chicago is a power city – Beyond just the Black and tech communities, Chicago is a major player on the global stage. It is the 3rd largest city in the US and ranked  No. 7 in the world on the 2014 Global Cities Index 2014 (produced by A.T. Kearney). Chicago is also home to two of the world’s most prestigious universities — the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.
  2. There is a vibrant tech scene – The Windy City is very serious about technology. According to the Illinois Technology Association, Chicago is the top U.S. city for growth-stage technology companies.  All of the generations of major tech giants have a presence in the city. Also, research reveals the number of jobs at tech companies in Chicago are growing at a rate that ranks the city sixth among the nation’s top 20 tech markets.
  3. The city has a clear vision – Chicago not only has a vision, but also a solid plan. The Chicago Technology Plan consists of 28 initiatives within five broad strategies.  It enables the city to realize its vision of becoming a place where technology fuels opportunity, inclusion, engagement and innovation. Together, these five technology-focused strategies provide the path to solidifying Chicago a place as one of the world’s leading cities.
  4. There is a strong black nucleus – About 100 years ago, the Great Migration to Chicago was initiated by Robert Abbott and the Chicago Defender.  This brought many Black people from the South to the city for opportunities fueled by the booming industries.  This played a major role in Chicago growing to be the third largest urban Black population in the nation. Along with the sheer numbers, the city also has a history of Black influence and current direct connections to some of the most powerful Black people on the planet, including President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and countless other power brokers.
  5. There is a collaborative culture – Surprisingly enough, there is currently not a reigning “global Black tech mecca,” so we are creating the very first one in Chicago. We are fortunate to have a special culture in the community that allows us to collaborate with key community partners such as [BlackinTech], Blue1647, Code2040, and many others.

Black Tech Mecca Inc will host the State of the Black Tech Ecosystem in Chicago on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. The event will bring all of the city’s key players and stakeholders to the table to demystify the state of the Black tech ecosystem and to project a clear vision for collaborative action. Attending organizations will have the opportunity to share their plans for the year. For more information, log on to www.blacktechmecca.org.



3 Comments

  1. Ed Dunn on December 16, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    If the best you got is a smiling brotha with his arms crossed who can just mention who featured him and what “board he is on” then you have a lot of catching up to do with Atlanta. I seriously was going to say LOL at this.

    Let me know when you have a black mayor that supports Black technology development – oh, wait a minute who did you guys voted for? mmm..was it Rahm Emanuel?

    Let me know when you have the INTERNAP connection point and access to a huge pipleline like Maynard Jackson built next to the Underground Atlanta and we have 3 major co-location centers to quickly ramp up down here.

    Hey, I just checked…Microsoft just invested in the second innovation center in the world right here in Atlanta next to the…Underground Atlanta!

    Then we got the Atlanta Falcons building out a new start of the art stadium and IBM and other practices now moving down here to create a new sector called sports technology practices. Then GM and Mercedes and fintech moved down here to Atlanta and we still have major telecoms and banks. What do you guys have, Seaway? Heck, we even have a Harold’s Chicken lounge down here that server Harold-ritas did you ever have one? It’s really good, you have to come here to Atlanta to try one.

    No political clout, no community ecosystem, no infrastructure but in your minds, yall going to be a tech mecca bigger than Atlanta? And even better, we have everybody from New York to LA to Miami moving in with diverse talent…who moving to Chicago?

    Just saying..lol

    • Geri Alexander on March 25, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Why all the hate? And going to great lengths to spread it and prove a point that’s pointless? Sounds like to me he’s doing something right…IJS 🙂

  2. junebugjabowilkins on December 17, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Hello Ed, how are you. So what is it you find disturbing about a young man trying to make something happen in Chicago? With all that you mention is happening in Atlanta, one would think you would have the potential to be too busy for such a long monologue on the great stuff happening in Atlanta.

    The truth is, it takes more than being busy, having all the programs in the world or just having potential.

    In the long term, to create a sustainable ecosystem/infrastructure, it takes people to also investigate needs, quantify progress, provide mentorship, refer to jobs, consult, encourage innovation as well as coding, provide training and exposure for the next generation of young black folks.

    You telling us what you got, but can you quantify how it has made a difference? Is it making a difference? For how many, how long has it taken? How many have found employment? In what fields of expertise? How many successful start-up do you have? How do you help the ones that fail recover and begin again?

    The lessons of the 60s through the start of the 21st century demand that we create and maintain high standards and expectations in whatever field our children decide to pursue. Most especially in tech.
    That is the mission of Black Tech Mecca. Not to engage in some regional/tribal competition on who has the most stuff. We all need to support each other in rising up from this economic wilderness through will cooperation.

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