Inaugural Black Tech Weekend conference debuts in Detroit this October

What’s happening: Detroit’s inaugural Black Tech Weekend event is coming to the newly renovated Book Depository in Corktown this October, a chance for the city’s Black entrepreneurs and innovators to learn from and network with featured guests and each other. 

What it is: The event is produced by the larger Black Tech Week brand, which itself is owned and operated by the Cincinnati-based Lightship Foundation. The annual conference, now held each year in Cincinnati, aims to connect and foster growth amongst the Black tech community over the course of a week’s worth of speakers, networking opportunities, and more. The most recent event featured Issa Rae as its keynote speaker.

The Detroit event marks the first offshoot event for the brand, which aims to pack the spirit of the week-long conference into a weekend. Additional details are forthcoming, and an event page for up-to-date information is available online.

When and where: Black Tech Weekend is scheduled for Oct. 12 through Oct. 14 at the Book Depository in Corktown. The Albert Kahn-designed building, now home to tech and innovation hub Newlab, is part of the Michigan Central mobility campus.

Who’s behind it: Black Tech Weekend is produced by the Lightship Foundation in partnership with local title sponsors Song Foundation and Venture 313, the latter of which being a Gilbert Family Foundation-funded partnership between TechTown, Invest Detroit, and the Detroit Development Fund. The event immediately follows the second annual Michigan Tech Week event, which debuted in Detroit in 2022 and moves to Ann Arbor in its second year.

Why it’s important: "The city's growth in early-stage funding and investor activity makes it a great fit for BTW," says Candice Matthews Brackeen, Founder and CEO of Lightship Foundation. "When a startup ecosystem is so rapidly emerging, especially in a city so rich with Black entrepreneurial and professional talent, it's really important that we are intentional about acknowledging and including resources specifically created and curated for those builders. We've worked in Detroit in the past and are thrilled to be invited back to share Black Tech Weekend with the city's remarkable innovation community."

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.