Supporting the Black tech community in the partner ecosystem
The catalyst for the Black Channel Partner Alliance (BCPA) happened at Microsoft Inspire in 2017, when I came to the realization that I hadn’t met any African American founders or owners of a partner business. When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella laid out his vision for Microsoft moving forward after the events surrounding the death of George Floyd, this brought me back to that moment at Inspire. That’s when I, along with my co-founders, Frank Valdivieso, Lauren Anderson, and Danny Brown put this idea in motion.
Creating change by empowering the community
Black and African American tech innovators and entrepreneurs are severely underrepresented and underfunded within the tech industry. As a proud member of the Microsoft Partner Network since 2004, I believe Microsoft can better engage with Black and African American-owned businesses by providing them with a community where they can come together and share experiences.
That’s the Black Channel Partner Alliance (BCPA). It’s a partner-led community with a lofty—but straightforward—mission: build high performance, community focused, sustainable next generation channel partners. This includes aligning our goals with the Black and African American Partner Growth Initiative, Women in Cloud, and the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP).
Growing the number of Black and African American partners in our ecosystem and solving systemic issues go hand-in-hand. The 2.6 million Black or African-American owned business in the US combine for about $150 billion in annual receipts. And only 13% of these businesses are in professional, scientific, and technical services in the broader tech sector.
We want to help build momentum and capital for other Black and African American founders and technologists. Our three-year goals include building a movement of 100 partners, adding $100 million in revenue to their businesses, adding 800 tech jobs and performing 1000 digital transformations for community-based orgs. We’re also proudly committed to gender equality, so that Black and African American female founders also have access to this lucrative opportunity.
How you can support Black tech founders, owners and entrepreneurs
We can’t do it alone. So what can you do to help? Here are a few ways you can remove those barriers to resources and success:
- Support organizations that cultivate tech leaders
- Make conscious decisions about your tech service providers
- Seek mentorship opportunities. Existing partners can work with BCPA or the Black and African American Partner Growth Initiative.
- Share knowledge about available business opportunities to help build a stronger ecosystem
- Leverage your connections and relationships to create access to opportunities for Black and African American-owned firms
- Engage partner-to-partner with Black and African American-owned companies to develop more opportunities
- Connect with founders that may have taken a different path than you to build your professional network
Creating opportunities for other Black and African American technologists is my passion and I’m proud to share the BCPA story, especially today, the first day of Microsoft’s week of acknowledgement, reflection, and celebration of Juneteenth.
Whether you’re in the Black and African American community or ready to be an ally, a little bit extra from everybody can make a big difference.