Is tech the fastest way to create generational wealth?

Is tech the fastest way to create generational wealth?


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Despite greater social acceptance of the Black Lives Matter movement and incremental gains in political representation, the racial wealth gap continues to affect Black America. While the call for repairs has only grown and become more achievable in recent years, a group of black technology leaders in Tulsa highlighted how crucial it is for blacks to enter the technology industry as a way to generate wealth. generational.

The Black Wall Street Legacy Fest is an annual event commemorating the last three known survivors and living descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. May focused on the underutilized opportunities presented by the technology industry.

“Black Wall Street was about two key things. It was about collaboration and wealth creation,” said panelist Tyrance Billingsley, who was born and raised in Greenwood. Recently introduced to Forbes, Billingsley launched Black Tech Street, an initiative that helps Black entrepreneurs in the community. It also aims to create a technological ecosystem to support these self-employed.

Black Tech Street: Is Technology the Fastest Way to Create Generational Wealth?

Audience members applaud during a panel on technology and generational wealth during the second annual Black Wall Street Legacy festival at the Greenwood Cultural Center on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Mike Creef / The Black Wall Street Times)

Billingsley said the idea was conceived after asking the question, “What would Black Wall Street be like today if the 1921 massacre had never happened?” The city-sanctioned white mob destroyed 36 square blocks, hundreds of businesses, more than 1,200 homes and killed more than 300 black men, women and children, according to the Tulsa Historical Society.

Generational wealth creation begins with young people

The pandemic exposed many disparities across the economy, with millions of people in transition to relocate to other industries such as technology in what has become known as Great Resignation.

In particular, “the average annual salary for computer and information technology occupations was $ 97,430 in May 2021, which was higher than the average annual salary for all occupations of $ 45,760,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Mikeal Vaughn is the founder and CEO of Guild of Urban Codersan organization that provides computer education to children in underserved and underrepresented communities in Tulsa.

“Getting our young people to take the time now to develop talent for this workforce is crucial to creating generational wealth, Vaughn told the panel on Friday. He said that we all use technology in some way, whether we realize it or not. But she’s interested in seeing kids become more than content consumers on someone else’s platform. He wants them to be platform producers.

Black Tech Street: Is Technology the Fastest Way to Create Generational Wealth?

Mikeal Vaughn, founder of Urban Coders Guild, speaks at a panel on technology and generational wealth during the second annual Black Wall Street Legacy festival at the Greenwood Cultural Center on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Mike Creef / The Black Wall Street Times)

Currently an extracurricular program, Vaughn said he hopes to get into schools and reach even the youngest children through teaching skills such as: web development, mobile application development, game design and cybersecurity.

“When we struggle every day to get to the end of the month, our options are reduced. Because I can earn between $ 70,000 and $ 200,000, I don’t care how I eat anymore. Right now I can think about investing assets.” he told the audience.

Generational wealth to combat the racial wealth gap

Due to centuries of racist policies, terrorist surveillance and exploitation, the average net worth of a black household is 10 times lower than that of its white counterparts, according to the Brookings Institution. To make matters worse, a 2017 report from Prosperity Now and the Institute for Political Studies predicts that the wealth of black and Latino communities will reach zero in 2053.

“We’re clearly like blacks behind, right?” said panelist Cedric Ikpo, executive director of the Thunder Fellows program in Greenwood’s historic district.

Cedric Ikpo, CEO of Thunder Fellows, speaks at a panel on technology and generational wealth during the second annual Black Wall Street Legacy festival at the Greenwood Cultural Center on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Mike Creef / The Black Wall Street Times )

Created in 2021 from a partnership between the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team and the Creative Arts Agency, Thunder’s comrades addresses the racial wealth gap by teaching skills to black Tulsa high school students who can be used for careers in the sports and entertainment industries.

Ikpo says people love sports leaders more. He wants to lift black technology leaders and create an image that young people want to aspire to be. A data analyst or program manager represents just a couple of jobs that these kids have never considered.

From Black Wall Street to Black Tech Street

Ultimately, the panel’s black technology leaders spoke in the spirit of the original Black Wall Street. OW Gurly, one of the richest black men of the 1920s, bought land in what is now Greenwood. In particular, it only sold land to other blacks, which stimulated the growth of Black Wall Street and helped the dollar stay in the black community.

Lawrence Watkins is an investor in Atento Capital, a Tulsa investment firm that supports entrepreneurs in underrepresented communities. Speaking at the panel, he compared today’s technological rise to that of Henry Ford Model Tthe first car to be produced for the average consumer in the early 1900s.

“What makes it different is the fact that Internet technology is infinitely scalable,” Watkins told the audience Friday. He said a teen could start a business from scratch online at virtually no upfront cost, which would have been impossible decades ago.

Lawrence Watkins, an investor at Atento Capital, speaks during a panel on technology and generational wealth during the second annual Black Wall Street Legacy festival at the Greenwood Cultural Center on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Mike Creef / The Black Wall Street Times )

Watkins said it is not enough to acquire skills that can be used to work for another person.

“Property at the forefront of innovation,” is a motto he said he takes very seriously. He said owning your own assets is the most real way to establish generational wealth.

“Having assets is what will create this wealth in the long run,” he said.

Change the narrative

Ultimately, leaders like Tyrance Billingsley are imagining the future, with technological innovations today as revolutionary as oil in the early 20th century.

For Billingsley, he begins by changing the narrative of what a tech entrepreneur looks like.

“When you think of a successful tech entrepreneur, how many blacks come to mind? Do they exist, but are they in the narrative?” he asked the audience, referring to tech entrepreneurs known as Apple’s Steve Jobs and Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg.

“I tell kids you can be the founder of a multimillion-dollar company.”





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