Tomorrow, August 9, at 12pm at Citi Field

(August 8, 2023 at 10am)

QUEENS, NY – In the wake of his fact-finding and lesson-learning visit last month to Lagos, Nigeria — an emerging tech hub known as the Silicon Valley of Africa — Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. will host a panel discussion on how to build pipelines between historically underserved communities of color and New York City’s growing technology industry tomorrow, August 9, at 12pm at Citi Field.

The discussion comes two weeks after Borough President Richards and Deputy Queens Borough President Ebony Young traveled to Nigeria to meet with area government officials and tech entrepreneurs, visit thriving Black-owned technology companies and learn how leaders in Lagos have successfully established a blossoming tech ecosystem that fosters innovation, job opportunities, investment and more amongst local residents of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Visiting Lagos was an eye-opening and emotional experience in many ways, especially when it came to seeing so many thriving young people of color push the envelope of what’s possible in the technology and innovation spheres,” said Borough President RICHARDS. “There are so many lessons New York City not only should be learning from Lagos, but must be learning if we want to ensure our own tech industry can compete on a global scale. We’re doomed to fail unless we build pipelines to tech for Black and brown New Yorkers who have historically been left out, and failure is not an option here in The World’s Borough.”

Joining the panel discussion — to be emceed by Deputy Borough President Young — will be community-based organizations that predominantly serve residents of color, leaders in economic development, educators and more. Participating entities include:

  • Cornell Tech
  • Eko Innovation Center (Lagos, Nigeria)
  • Greater Jamaica Development Corporation
  • HR&A Advisors
  • New York City Economic Development Corporation
  • New York City Office of Technology and Innovation
  • Queens Economic Development Corporation
  • Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation
  • Urban Upbound

Underscoring the importance of ensuring equitable access to the tech field are the stark demographic and gender disparities that currently exist in the New York City tech industry workforce. Nearly 30 percent of city residents are Latin and 24 percent are Black, but Latin and Black residents hold just 12 percent and 11 percent of New York City tech jobs, respectively, according to a 2020 study by HR&A Advisors. Meanwhile, half of New York City’s population identifies as female, but just 35 percent of tech jobs are filled by women.

Tomorrow’s panel discussion is a continuation of Borough President Richards’ multi-pronged approach to ensuring Queens is the next great American incubator of innovation. In October 2022, he and Deputy Borough President Young launched the Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge (QTIC) in partnership with the Queens Economic Development Corporation, a multi-month competition for Queens-based entrepreneurs that offered free businesses classes, mentorship opportunities and networking sessions, as well as $20,000 in seed funding for five winning local start-ups. Announcements about the 2023-24 QTIC will be made in the coming weeks.

In January 2023, they hosted the inaugural “Queens Tech Fair: Breaking Barriers to Entry” in Jamaica, which saw more than 600 attendees interact with leading technology companies through workshops, skills training, job opportunities and more.

“Queens cannot be on the cutting edge of technology and innovation unless all our people of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds are activated and engaged in the process, said Deputy Borough President YOUNG. “There is so much Black and brown brilliance in this borough — no longer will we allow it go to uncovered, unseen and unrealized. Together, we can unleash an unprecedented wave of opportunity here in Queens that will create jobs, create wealth and create limitless possibilities for communities that have long deserved them.”

Members of the media who wish to attend the panel discussion are asked to RSVP by emailing [email protected] or calling 718-286-2640.

WHAT:         Borough President Richards to Host Panel Discussion on Connecting Communities of Color to Tech Industry

WHEN:        Wednesday, August 9nd at 12pm
WHERE:       Citi Field, Media Briefing Room, 41 Seaver Way in Corona

WHO:           DONOVAN RICHARDS JR., Queens Borough President

                     EBONY YOUNG, Deputy Queens Borough President

                     Community-based organizations, tech leaders and others

Follow the Office of the Queens Borough President via @QnsBPRichards on Twitter and @QueensBPRichards on Facebook and Instagram