From music to tech:
How one Miami native is breaking down the racial digital divide
This is the March 14, 2023 edition of the Opportunity Miami newsletter written by Matt Haggman, which we send every Tuesday. Click here to subscribe to get our weekly updates in your inbox.
Interview: How one Miami native is breaking down the racial digital divide
Watch our conversation with Ted Lucas, founder of Slip-N-Slide Records, and the founder of TechNolij
It’s often said that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. This has long been the case in tech. One vivid illustration of the giant gap that persists is that Black founders received just one percent of all venture capital invested in 2022, according to TechCrunch.
Ted Lucas, who founded Slip-N-Slide Records in 1994 and sold more than 30 million records with artists like Trina, Trick Daddy, and Rick Ross, has started TechNolij (pronounced “tech-knowledge”), an innovation center on Florida Memorial University’s campus in Miami Gardens.
“Our goal is to demonstrate to underrepresented individuals in Black and Brown communities the vast opportunities available with the tech and innovation sectors and empower them with the necessary training, resources, and mentorship to achieve success,” said Lucas.
We sat down with Lucas for our latest Opportunity Miami Interview. Our new format brings you conversations with people whose ideas are shaping the future of our cities and the world economy. You can watch it here.
Watch the 14-minute interview on YouTube or listen on Apple or Spotify
A range of initiatives to bridge the racial divide in tech have been launched in recent years. Here in Miami, this includes Black Ambition, Codepath, America On Tech, Culture Shift Labs, and Black Men Talk, among others. Venture funds such as Harlem Capital and newly-started Ascendo Venture Capital are focused on solving this as well.
TechNolij joins these efforts with the important benefit of being based in Miami Gardens, the largest Black-majority city in Florida, and at South Florida’s only Historically Black College or University. Lucas grew up in Carol City, a neighborhood that is now part of Miami Gardens.
As TechNolij gets underway, Lucas is doing it with partners in the talent development space that include tech and coding bootcamps, such as BrainStation, to start and build a career in tech.
For Miami Gardens, it’s also an effort for the 20-year-old city to continue its growth. To many, it’s known as the home of Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Dolphins. But building from an educational base that uniquely includes two universities within its city limits — St. Thomas University and Florida Memorial University — TechNolij aims to help build new futures in tech too.
On a separate note, we had a great time participating in the second edition of Aspen Ideas: Climate, which was last week. We’ll talk more about learnings and new insights from the conference in upcoming newsletters. But you can go here to see many of the talks.
We are also hosting our next Opportunity Miami x Miami-Dade County Climate Tech Meetup in a new location, in partnership with real estate developer and entrepreneur Tony Cho, at Future of Cities Climate and Innovation Hub. It is located at 224 NE 59th St in Little Haiti and will be held on March 24th from 10 AM-12 PM. You can register for that here.
Register for the meetup here
As always, we would love to hear from you. You can share trends, story ideas, and details on people building a more innovative, inclusive, and sustainable future for Miami. You can email us at email@example.com. If you were forwarded this newsletter, you can subscribe here. We also invite you to subscribe on YouTube and follow us on social media channels.