Wow. I have been to various conferences and workshops over the years, yet nothing like SXSW. The sheer size of the conference was dizzying, not to mention the roughly 30,000 people who attend each year. From my experience, I would describe SXSW as a two-week period where the tech, media, and art world convenes to meet and discuss new advancements.

I attended as part of a delegation of 50 HBCU students from across the country. This initiative was created by Opportunity Hub, an Atlanta based incubator and coworking space dedicated to promoting pathways into the startup ecosystem for people of color.

Each day of the of conference was awesome.

There is this “thing” called SX Magic, a term coined to describe the various magical moments that happen during SXSW. I am not talking about flying carpets. I am referring the large amount networking opportunities. For example, while walking down Castro St. you might run anybody. While I was in the tech-expo, MIKE “ROOSTER” MCCONAUGHEY from the TV show West Texas Investors Club, walked right past me.

The event that had the biggest impact on me was called Founder’s Therapy. Being in the same room with some of the Black community’s top entrepreneurs and innovators was amazing. Hearing stories first hand about the highs and lows of navigating through the startup ecosystem and life was extremely valuable.

I learned how sometimes getting press does not always help you or the startup. But most importantly I learned more about the power of community.

I am extremely thankfully to every organization that made this experience possible for me. Especially Howard University, HowU Innovate, Opportunity Hub, Student Dream, and also Huston-Tillotson University.

The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW® is the premier destination for discovery.

Year after year, the event is a launching pad for new creative content. New media presentations, music showcases and film screenings provide buzz-generating exposure for creators and compelling entertainment for audiences. Conference panel discussions present a forum for learning, business activity thrives at the Trade Shows and global networking opportunities abound. Intellectual and creative intermingling among industry leaders continues to spark new ideas and carve the path for the future of each ever-evolving field, long after the events’ conclusion.

SXSW was March 11-20 2016 in Austin, TX

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