Last week’s announcement that Comcast Interactive Capital will provide seed funding for five minority-led startups through a partnership with Philadelphia-based DreamIt Ventures is music to the ears of minority entrepreneurs and their advocates.
In a statement, Payne Brown, Comcast Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, said:
Diversity is a cornerstone of Comcast’s culture and we are proud to have Comcast Interactive Capital partner with DreamIt in this first investment from our $20 million fund focused on expanding opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. Minority groups are underrepresented in startup ventures and we believe supporting minority entrepreneurs through the DreamIt accelerator is an effective way to provide them with greater opportunities.
The Comcast-DreamIt partnership springs from a commitment by Comcast to expand opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. That commitment was part of the company’s merger with NBCUniversal, which the Federal Communications Commission approved in January.
My longtime friend David Honig, president and executive director of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, told Politic365:
This is just what MBEs need — seed money, support and mentoring at the very start of their careers as entrepreneurs. Until now, no program has offered this kind of essential opportunity to minority digital entrepreneurs. Comcast’s venture capital initiative is off to a great start.
Ten years ago, my idea to write and produce a documentary about the 2000 election debacle was met with skepticism. After all, I had no film training or experience.
But I had a story to tell and access to the players. I assured the director and editor if they just followed what I wrote, audiences will like the film. They did and audiences did. My documentary, “Counting on Democracy,” aired on PBS stations nationwide.
It was déjà vu in March when I heard Startup America Partnership CEO Scott Case say African American entrepreneurs are largely invisible to investors. I thought, hmm, I should do something about that. And the seed for “The Innovators” was planted.
I had planned to release the trailer for my web documentary, “The Innovators,” at Saturday’s BarCamp NewsInnovation, the culminating event for Philly Tech Week. Long story short, the trailer will be released in the next seven to 10 days.
While I didn’t get a chance to show my trailer, I picked up useful tips about interactive storytelling at the session on the Knight Mozilla News Technology Partnership. One of the participants made this drawing as I shared the story of how the idea to produce the video popped into my head as I passed the Divine Lorraine Hotel in Philadelphia.
In “Gone with the Wind,” Butterfly McQueen famously said: “I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ babies!”
I’m a DIY filmmaker who knows little about web-based movies. But “The Innovators” is my baby so I will learn. Well, at least learn enough to know what questions to ask.
I took a break from Philly’s geek fest and saw a live performance of the Broadway musical, “Memphis,” captured for the big screen.
The 2010 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical is loosely based on the life of pioneering disc jockey Dewey Phillips. It tells the story of a fictional white DJ, Huey Calhoun, who introduces white kids to “race music.” The back story is one of “fame and forbidden love.”
The unvarnished Memphis was the backdrop for a seminal event in the civil rights movement.
This morning, President Obama will meet with several of the workers who took part in the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike. Following the meeting, they will go to the Department of Labor for an induction ceremony.
Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis announced that the 1,300 workers who took part in the sanitation strike will be inducted into the Labor Hall of Fame.
For more info about the Memphis Sanitation Strike, visit “I Am a Man.”
Today is opening day of Philly Tech Week, the first annual celebration of technology and innovation in the City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection).
Between getting my geek on, I will be working on the trailer for “The Innovators,” a web documentary that will show the changing face of innovators. While African Americans are celebrated as music and sports innovators, the story of entrepreneurial-minded black innovators is largely untold.
I want to give a big shout-out to Angela Benton and Wayne Sutton, organizers of New Media Entrepreneurship Accelerator, for stepping up and helping black founders bring their ideas to the marketplace.
This summer, NewME will host a select group of minority-led start-ups in the San Francisco Bay Area. The program will provide mentors a co-working space and networking opportunities with some of Silcon Valley’s digerati. NewME will culminate with a Demo Day, which I plan to shoot for my webdoc.
Just as it was no big deal to get a hold of me for this (interview), I’ll be just as accessible and available to NewME entrepreneurs. Hollywood is in the perception business where you create layers to create mystery. In Silicon Valley it’s about taking away the layers to get to the substance.
And when the layers are taken away, venture capitalists and angel investors will discover that black founders are, well, “too legit to quit.”