Afrotech Fest 2018 Recap

Afrotech Fest took place 26th - 27th January at Rich Mix London.

The two-day technology festival for black people of African and Caribbean heritage featured panel discussions, workshops and art installations from startup founders, civil servants, developers, designers, artists, writers and many more.

As soon as you stepped into the venue, you felt welcomed. At home with long lost friends.

It was also encouraging to meet people outside of tech who were to learn more about the industry. A youth programme was also put on to inspire the next generation to think about creating technology. Plus the conference was incredibly inclusive for all.

Here are a few of the high quality panels and workshops.

YSYS Founder Series Panel featured Darren Tenkorang CEO of TRIM-IT, Urenna Okonkwo Founder of Cashmere, Product Manager Yommy Ojo and Startup Advisor Andy Ayim shared their journeys in tech, how companies can scale and the need for more sustainable businesses within the black community.

(Left to Right) Yommy Ojo, Darren Tenkorang, Urenna Okonkwo, Andy Ayim

(Left to Right) Yommy Ojo, Darren Tenkorang, Urenna Okonkwo, Andy Ayim

Eunice Baguma Ball from Africa Technology Business Network talk highlighted women are leading tech startups across several African countries.

Eunice Baguma Ballfrom Africa Technology Business Network

Eunice Baguma Ballfrom Africa Technology Business Network

Abi Mohamed, Tech Director at CGV detailed the need for more discussions around privacy rights and the rise of data broker companies.

Abi Mohamed, Tech Director at CGV

Abi Mohamed, Tech Director at CGV

Paris Petgrave from Rareseed Capital presented the need for more investment within the Afro/Caribbean community and demystified venture capital.

Paris Petgrave from Rareseed Capital

Paris Petgrave from Rareseed Capital

The underlying theme that struck me at Afrotech Fest was the need to create more intergenerational wealth and encourage more community support.

Doing so will aid in solving urgent issues within the Afro/Caribbean communities. Technology can help in addressing issues but without enough resources and community support startups and their products will not reach enough scale to benefit the community.

Afrotech Fest 2018 was a pivotal moment for the UK Tech ecosystem, an event for everyone to establish connections and for those who are not usually visible at tech conferences to be visible.

Congratulations to the Afrotech Fest team and volunteers for putting on such a fantastic conference.

Bring on next year!

Afrotech Fest Team

Afrotech Fest Team

Tech Inclusion London Recap

Tech Inclusion London

The London Tech Inclusion hosted by Change Catalyst took place on 14th of December 2017 at Google Central (St. Giles) London.

The event created was to inform, promote and discuss inclusion within the tech industry.

A critical point repeated throughout the day was to promote minorities in a way that created an inclusive working environment.

The exclusive London event had a long list of incredible speakers sharing in discussions and truths about UK Tech.

RT Hon Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital, supported the tech inclusion movement and stated the agenda essential for the whole country.

He said the UK government is pushing to get more people into Tech via digital apprenticeships with the aim to increase diversity in tech.

Matt Hancock MP

Sara Shahvisi, Director of Programmes at Fearless Futures, highlighted the ‘symptoms' of the tech ecosystem as ‘not good’, shared a lot of insights and solutions to overcome the tech diversity problem.

Sara Shahvisi

Alex Fefegha, Lead Maker of Things at Comuzi, highlighted the problem of building AI building and the biases it will inherit.

His talk focused the talent pool building AI is predominately white and male, which leads to products that only cater to that one market.


Srin Madipalli, Product Manager at Airbnb, also spoke about his experiences cited accessibility problems when travelling led him to decide the best solution is using technology to travel accessible to everyone.


Another point that came up during the day was the need for culture and the structure of the workplace to make people feel empowered to speak up about any issue.

Amy Lynch, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at ThoughtWorks, shared the vital conservation about the progress that has come to past and there are still more objectives need to must be done.

Amy Lynch

The event also drew attention to the importance of diverse women breaking into VC and Angel Investing.

Such as Suki Fuller, Servane Mouazan, Jessica Stacey and Paris Petgrave.

Toward Inclusive Investment Panel

Mark Martin, EdTech Expert and Team Leader at UKBlackTech, chaired the final panel discussion about the Tech Pipeline.

A key takeaway from the debate was without a more diverse and inclusive pipeline, a more diverse and inclusive tech ecosystem will be nothing but a pipedream.

Focus on Education - Developing an Inclusive Tech Pipeline

Lastly, I wanted to thank Melinda Briana Epler, CEO of Tech Inclusion and Founder & CEO of Change Catalyst, Wayne Sutton, Co-Founder of Tech Inclusion and Change Catalyst, plus all the volunteers for bringing Tech Inclusion to London.

Tech Inclusion London Team

This event exceeded all expectations, all of us at CGV are excited to see future developments in the upcoming years.

Thanks for reading,

Abi from CGV

The UK Black Business Show (UKBBS) 2017: Recap

Image Credit  @ MaroonNewsmag

Image Credit @MaroonNewsmag

The UK Black Business Show (UKBBS) took place on October 14th 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Central London.

In the words of the team behind the event, UKBBS was created to “created to inspire and connect black business owners and professionals working in various industries.”

Boy did it deliver.

The exhibition room was packed with companies striving to make a difference in their communities, speakers shared honest stories of starting and growing their businesses, plus people made connections that could lead to future collaborations or business partnerships.

The first session was run by the Solomon Smith and Dr. Mahamed Hashi from Brixton Soup Kitchen, they talked about their story of starting the charity, how they leveraged local newspapers to obtain national press and detailed how many lives they impacted with their excellent work.

Next Andy Amadi from BK Chat London shared his story about creating his hit YouTube show. More importantly, he deep dived into how he overcame his fear of failure.

He also talked about the need to self-fund your ideas. One key takeaway was consistency is critical to building a loyal fan base on YouTube.

Damian Melville from Melville & Daughters Funeral Directors had a fascinating talk. Not often you get to learn about the funeral business.

He explained why more empathy is needed in the funeral business as his competitors focus too much on the bottom line, plus the need for more black ownership.

Kojo Amin and Annika Allen from The Colour Network outlined the Future of Black British Entertainment, and they expressed the need for better support for our talent in the UK.

William Adoasi from Vitae London told his story about quitting his well-paid job to start a watch company that with each purchase pays for a child’s school uniform in South Africa, enabling the children to go to school and get an education.

Also, he talked about crucial lessons from Vitae London’s recent successful crowdfunding campaign.

He said having the patience to plan an equity crowdfunding campaign gives you the best chance of success, as well as building an email list before launching so that you can close more of your crowdfund raise a lot sooner.

Hanna Akintoye from UK Black Owned (UKBOB) deep dived into the necessity of group economics in the black community, putting out your ideas how she and her co-founder created a directory of over 700 UK Black-owned businesses.

Massive congrats to the team behind UKBBS, they outdid themselves with the event.

I can’t wait for next year’s event to see more businesses exhibiting, more speakers and forge new relationships with fellow black business owners and professionals.

Team CGV