In March of 2016, twin brothers Branden and Bruce Jones launched Blk hack, an educational and inspirational monthly event series designed to better connect African-Americans with the tech industry and startup space. As co-founders of streaming service FLIQs, the brothers are familiar with the tech startup community, and equally as familiar with the lack of diversity within it.

BLK hack’s intention is to provide a more inclusive and welcoming environment for minority entrepreneurs, and aims to bridge resource gaps that exist for those individuals. The organization provides an interactive, socially engaging experience that not only allows participants to gain important business and career information but also transforms their lives through the encouragement, insight and inspiration delivered by event speakers.

After experiencing much success in their native Columbus, the brothers set their sights on expanding the organization to other cities throughout the state and eventually, throughout the country. First stop – Cleveland.

On March 27, BLK hack officially launched their Cleveland chapter. The sold-out event featured a panel discussion that covered topics ranging from overcoming failure by changing your mindset to how entrepreneurs can begin leveraging area resources to grow their idea into a business.

Among the speakers was Core City: Cleveland Impact Program graduate and Founder and CEO of Studio Stick Brandyn Armstrong, who told his story and answered questions from the perspective of an entrepreneur. LaRese Purnell, Founder of The Real Black Friday and Partner in CLE Consulting Firm contributed his own founder story and shared insights gained over his career. In addition, I was on hand to discuss the wide array of resources available to entrepreneurs and small businesses owners in the region.

The panel also included Arnold Hines, Director of BLK hack Cleveland and Alonzo Edmundo, Co-Director of BLK hack Cleveland.

To learn more about BLK hack Cleveland and to stay up-to-date on future events, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Below you’ll find photos from the Cleveland launch, courtesy of Emmanuel Wallace.

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Gloria Ware
Gloria leads JumpStart’s strategic efforts to create inclusive, high-impact entrepreneurial ecosystems. She brings a wealth of finance and business development expertise to the organization, along with a passion for community engagement.