African-American and female are two characteristics not commonly found in Silicon Valley — but one black woman is helping to break barriers by helping minorities make a name for themselves in the tech sector.
Angela Benton is the savvy and successful CEO/founder of NewMe, a company aimed to accelerate the growth and success of minority individuals interested in joining the tech industry.
Through the resources Benton and her platform provide, members who join the program learn how to transform their innovative ideas into lucrative and successful businesses.
“We take people who have ideas and plug them in to what they need to make it a real business,” Benton told theGrio in a sit-down interview. “So if you’ve ever had an idea and aren’t sure where to start, whether it’s how to raise money, how to get something launched, or don’t know where to begin, we essentially have a platform of different products and services that we plug entrepreneurs in to.”
Benton’s clients usually reflect a small but growing demographic of tech professionals – but with the resources and services she is able to provide, Benton’s hopes are that her clients, and those like them, will continue to diversify the tech industry.
“When you look at the tech industry, it’s largely white men,” she said. “We mainly focus on minorities, African-American, Latino and women founders, so people who you don’t really see running large, successful tech companies.”
“So far to date, we’ve helped a little over 300 entrepreneurs but our portfolio consists of 39 companies and they’ve raised 10.4 million since we launched in 2011,” she added.
As a black female in the tech sector, Benton admits that in many points in her careers she was almost always the only African-American and most often just one of few women in the room.
However, her mission to continue to share her valuable insight and experience is in effort to encourage more minorities and women to realize that there is much potential for success in the tech industry.
In discussing the power of technology, Benton also weighed in on the topic of Black Twitter and its growing influence on social media.
“Black Twitter definitely is a social movement, but for a couple of reasons,” Benton said. “It can be very powerful in moving social causes and social missions and help things for the community but it can also be very powerful in other aspects of our lives, [like] consumerism, buying products and all of those types of things.”
“Black Twitter is THE thing, it is a great way to mobilize issues and causes,” she added. “A large part of Twitter’s user base is African-American but look at their corporate board, they don’t necessarily have anyone that reflects a core demographic that’s using the platform, which are African-Americans.”
However, with the help of Benton’s work and the resources provided through NewMe, the tech industry can expect many more smart and savvy minority members leading the way to tomorrow.
For more information about NewMe, click here.
Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works