Looking for a conference that provides information and tools to help you succeed? That attracts a broad mix of entrepreneurs, investors, executives, exhibitors and others interested in the latest news, trends and opportunities in the tech world? That leaves you feeling inspired and motivated? That, bottom line, represents a sound investment of your hard-earned money?
If you answered “yes” to any — or all — of these questions, this list of tech conferences taking place in 2020 is for you. While some are more specialized than others, it’s almost certain that at least one of these will meet your needs.
Roadmap to Billions Conference
Established in 2017, Black Women Talk Tech is a collective of founders dedicated to building community and profitable, scalable businesses. Drawing on their unique understanding of the challenges faced by black women in tech fields, as well as the advantages they bring to the business world, the organization and the Roadmap to Billions Conference are on a self-proclaimed mission to “identify, support and encourage black women to build the next billion dollar business.” The first two days are workshops geared to founders of scalable tech companies; the third day highlights exciting work being done in tech fields and is open to anyone who wants to attend.
These one-day events held in major cities across the country include workshops and seminars, product demonstrations, speed-networking sessions and direct connections to industry leaders. Small business owners have the opportunity to meet each other, build valuable new relationships, learn from industry experts and shop from exhibitors with products and services to help small businesses grow. This year’s events are scheduled for Dallas (February 27), Miami (March 19), Orlando (March 25), Boston (April 7), Philadelphia (April 29), New York (June 4), Chicago (June 24), San Diego (September 10), Los Angeles (September 16), San Francisco (October 8), Phoenix (October 15), Brooklyn (November 12), Atlanta (November 18), Austin (December 2) and Houston (December 8).
Hosted by Black Enterprise, the Summit exhorts attendees to “BE Intentional, BE Empowered, BE Equipped.” This career development and leadership conference expects to welcome more than 1,200 corporate professionals and businesswomen from around the country, with opportunities to learn from industry leaders about how to optimize their potential for professional advancement. In addition to interactive workshops, conference sessions will examine corporate trends, leadership and management skills and the special issues and challenges facing small businesses. There are also activities such as morning workouts, one-on-one coaching, networking opportunities and entertainment.
In 2019, the inaugural Black is Tech Conference attracted more than 1,000 black and minority tech professionals, entrepreneurs and students, a success that has organizers expecting attendance at this year’s event to exceed 2,500. Black is Tech 2020 will feature more than 60 speakers, providing insights, resources and connections to some of the brightest minds in the minority tech world, along with workshops, a start-up exhibit featuring more than 100 companies, a pitch competition and opportunities to interact with top tech brands recruiting at the conference.
FEI is an acronym for “front end of innovation.” The conference actually is designed to help large organizations be more agile and opportunistic in their approach to innovation, adaptation and disruption. It’s geared to innovation and R&D executives seeking strategies to tackle the innovation process systematically, from ideation through execution. Tracks include generating transformational business value; creating an environment for disrupters to succeed; leveraging data to drive innovation; evolving products to meet future market needs; perpetuating an ecosystem that keeps ideas flowing; and leveraging innovation to contribute to a better world.
Another offering from Black Enterprise, this conference promises entrepreneurs the resources needed to launch, grow and innovate. More than 1,000 attendees — including CEOs, investors and business leaders — take advantage of this opportunity to share knowledge, forge partnerships and cut deals. Past conferences have included workshops on topics ranging from how to build a digital community, the art of collaboration, social media strategies and how to sustain growth in the retail industry. One-on-one business coaching sessions are also part of the program.
Hosted by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), this annual gathering is billed as the largest event of its kind for women business owners. More than 4,700 attendees will take advantage of a program that features over 40 speakers and more than 350 exhibitors, while generating an expected 1,300 “matchmaker” meetings between business owners and prospective funders, customers and resource providers. Among the latter are senior executives from Fortune 500 firms and procurement officials from departments and agencies of the U.S. Government, along with representatives of private and public organizations whose missions align with WBENC’s vision of expanding business opportunities for women.
Now in its seventh year, Afrotech was one of the first conferences geared specifically to creating opportunities for black people in tech fields. Today, it’s the largest conference of its kind in the nation, drawing more than 10,000 founders, funders, employees and other techies. With tracks dedicated to leadership (including growing your network and building your personal brand), entrepreneurship (with advice on positioning and scaling your business, raising capital and generating additional revenue) and engineering & design (see the latest innovations and trends), Afrotech has opportunities for everyone.