Milky Way Tech Hub track emphasizes diversity at Startup Milwaukee Week

Event to foster diversity, entrepreneurship

Milwaukee skyline
Milwaukee skyline

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:37 pm

The Milky Way Tech Hub Track is the latest series of events to be added to Startup Milwaukee Week’s already packed itinerary. The program is geared towards creating a tech hub in Milwaukee that mirrors the city’s diverse population.

The Milky Way Tech Hub Track is hosted by Jet Constellations, a software company and tech hub that connects companies and entrepreneurs while offering consulting services. During and before Startup Week, which runs Nov. 11 to Nov. 17, The Milky Way Tech Hub track will offer four programs:

  • Milky Way Tech for Good Pitch Out – 11/16
  • Cultivating a Diverse Tech Ecosystem: UWM and Beyond – 11/12
  • Milwaukee’s Tech Diversity Dinner – 11/5
  • Women, Wine and Tech – 11/6

“There is a critical need for diversity in entrepreneurship and small business ownership in Milwaukee,” said Nadiyah Johnson, Jet Constellations founder. “Through our partnership with Startup Milwaukee Week, Jet and The Milky Way Tech Hub are working to drive diversity both in Milwaukee’s tech startup ecosystem as well as creating a culture that fosters entrepreneurship.”

Nadiyah Johnson of Jet Constellations
Nadiyah Johnson of Jet Constellations

New research from Wisconsin Policy Forum recently painted a more positive picture of Milwaukee’s tech community as it listed regional talent as one of the city’s biggest strengths. However, the research, presented via the WI Policy Forum’s “Metro Milwaukee Innovation DataTool,” noted that Milwaukee continues to lag behind when it comes to minority business ownership.

However, Johnson aims to change the narrative by using The Milky Way Tech Hub as a tool to drive diversity in Milwaukee’s tech ecosystem by working to retain and attract diverse talent.

“The goal is to create a narrative where black people, people of color and underrepresented people will want to move to Milwaukee (The Milky Way Tech Hub) because they know there is a supportive ecosystem that will help them thrive in tech,” Johnson said.

The Milky Way Tech for Good Pitch out brings entrepreneurs together with the goal of supporting, encouraging and providing new and equitable funding opportunities.

Cultivating a Diverse Tech Ecosystem: UWM and Beyond is a two-hour program that encourages innovators at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and in the greater Milwaukee area to connect and “cultivate” each other’s goals and vision for a more diverse tech ecosystem.

Johnson described Milwaukee’s Tech Diversity Dinner as “an intimate gathering” where attendees will “move beyond the diversity and inclusion conversation” and experience “compassion and genuine human connection.”

The Women, Wine and Tech event is a forum designed for colleges students, businesses leaders, entrepreneurs, tech engineers and human resource professionals to discuss diversity issues specifically impacting women in technology.

Jet Constellations was founded in 2017 and has since built STEM education programs in multiple public schools and collaborated with several startups and entrepreneurs in the Milwaukee area.

“A lot of my inspiration to start Jet Constellations and The Milky Way Tech Hub comes from the awareness of the dire need for diversity in STEM especially technology,” Johnson said. “As Milwaukee is transforming into a tech hub, I want black people and people of color to have a voice and say in what this looks like.”

Click here for a list of posted Startup Milwaukee Week events.

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Brandon Anderegg
Brandon covers startups, technology, banking and finance. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.

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