Black Tech Matters: The Future Of Tech Talent In Atlanta by: Leo Haigh, first-year MBA student at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business on March 10, 2022 | 776 Views March 10, 2022 Copy Link Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share on Reddit Something special is happening in Atlanta when it comes to tech investment. Recent years have seen leading players like Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Visa grow their presence in the city, as they look to tap into Atlanta’s diverse talent pool. Take Airbnb for example. They are on the cusp of opening a new hub right next to Georgia Tech’s campus, as they move towards their goal of increasing their U.S. underrepresented minority employment from 12% to 20%. Atlanta’s unique blend of talent, entrepreneurship, and cultural leadership has created an ecosystem that has attracted some of the biggest tech players in the world, with Black tech employees driving this success. The city stands apart from other tech hubs when it comes to the diversity of those participating. Atlanta has a 25% rate of participation for underrepresented minorities within the tech workforce. Compare this to Silicon Valley, with just a 6.4% rate of participation. Desmond Dickerson, Director of Future of Work Marketing at Microsoft and Georgia Tech Scheller MBA alum, explains, “In Atlanta, you have the talent. You have the Atlanta University Center, which is a consortium of historically black colleges and universities. You have Georgia Tech and the brilliant folks that are coming out of here. Then you have Georgia State, which graduates the most Black students of any college in the country.” Beyond the talent coming out of universities in the area, Atlanta provides unique advantages that are built into its cultural DNA. “One of the things we have that is different from Silicon Valley or Boston is the cultural side…You have people like Chris Bridges, or Ludacris as most people know him, who are promoting the local tech sector and investing in businesses,” says Dickerson. And the successful growth of the tech sector in Atlanta is not limited to just well-established companies. Atlanta has long been synonymous with the success of minority-owned businesses, and Black tech start-ups are flourishing in the city. Companies such as Calendly, led by founder Tope Awotona, are leading the way for a new generation of tech unicorns based out of Atlanta. Georgia Tech and the Scheller College of Business sit at the heart of the tech scene in Atlanta, playing a central role in ensuring that talent from underrepresented groups continues to grow. As Jonathan King, a Georgia Tech Scheller Evening MBA student and Product Manager at Microsoft, puts it, “If you look at Scheller, we have our Advanced Technology Development Center, you have Tech Square that is right across the street, and you also have notable alumni. You have Dr. Paul Judge, who received his Ph.D. from Georgia Tech and started a $300 million dollar venture investment fund, which is primarily investing in underrepresented minorities. I really credit leaders like Judge, as well as company leaders after the events of 2020, for looking at what can we do to really make a difference.” Learn more about the tech scene in Atlanta and Dickerson and King’s journeys in tech through an episode of The Intersection Podcast. Leo Haigh is a first-year MBA student at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business. Leo has a background in marketing and strategic communications. He has a wide range of experience, from working in frontline politics in the UK Houses of Parliament to managing government affairs for an FTSE 100 tech company. Comments or questions about this article? Email us.