Creating Parity for

Black Technology Entrepreneurs

Black tech innovators and entrepreneurs face appalling disparities when compared to White-owned businesses in terms industry representation, start-up monies, capital infusion, and access to supportive networks and other resources to launch, grow, and scale operations.

As a catalyst for Black-owned technology business growth and leadership development, ITSMF creates barrier-free opportunities and initiatives—such as the IGNITE Academy, entrepreneurial sessions at symposia, regional networking forums, and supplier diversity showcases—to connect and empower this vital entrepreneurial community.

Delving deeper into the IGNITE initiative, ITSMF proudly introduces the 3M Ecosystem Strategy, a dedicated effort to revolutionize the landscape for Black tech entrepreneurs. This strategy focuses on providing non-dilutive capital, essential resources, and extensive networking opportunities, aiming to bridge the gap in technology entrepreneurship. By fostering a supportive ecosystem, ITSMF is committed to transforming innovative ideas into thriving businesses, thus contributing significantly to diversifying the tech industry.


Our signature entrepreneurial program – the ITSMF IGNITE Academy – leads the effort to reduce barriers within the Black tech entrepreneurial ecosystem. Part of the ITSMF Global Institute for Professional Development, the IGNITE Academy increases the success and representation of Black-owned tech enterprises by boosting business visibility, revenue potential, and personal fulfillment.

Designed for Black-owned tech businesses with revenues totaling $1 million or more, the IGNITE Academy uses the ITSMF mind-body-soul framework to help participants succeed in today’s competitive landscape by:

  • Enhancing their professional knowledge and leadership competencies;

  • Connecting them to the resources needed for their businesses to grow, scale, and thrive;

  • Building a collaborative community of supportive relationships with peers, ITSMF members, corporate networks, and other Fortune 50, 100, and 500 companies with supplier diversity initiatives; and

  • Positioning them to compete in supplier markets.

Meet the Current IGNITE Academy Cohort


Savannah Alphin

MediaSavvy, LLC


Anne Dutreuil

Trenzformers LLC


Gary Graves



Ron Meeting

Rapid Strategy


Jody Mitchell

Directed Analytics


Gene Norman

Wise Weather, LLC


Pat Perkins

The ADVANCE System


Stacey Scott

Elgia, Inc.


Reginald Wilkerson


Connecting Entrepreneurs:

IGNITE Entrepreneur Networking Forum

These regional networking events connect the entrepreneurial community by convening successful Black tech founders with VCs, corporate partners, and organizations that provide access valuable resources including capital, supplier markets, mentoring, coaching, and training.

ignite networking forum

Overcoming Barriers through Opportunities:

Supplier Diversity Showcase

Part of the IGNITE Entrepreneur Networking Forums, ITSMF Supplier Diversity Showcases introduce Black-owned tech businesses to valuable supply chain contacts. Take advantage of opportunities to explore business partnerships and increase supplier diversity through an expo-type networking setting.

Expanding Industry Exposure:

IGNITE at ITSMF Symposiums

ITSMF hosts two premier industry-wide events each year – the S1 and S2 symposiums. Each event convenes ITSMF members, partners, and change agents passionately committed to increasing the representation and parity at the highest leadership levels of the tech industry. These events now include sessions and meet-ups for the Black tech entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Increasing Parity and Reducing Obstacles:  IGNITE Academy Program Outcomes

The IGNITE Academy is a powerful business accelerator program that supports Black tech founders with annual revenues greater than $2.5M. The program positions small- to mid-sized Black-owned technology enterprises to be competitive in Fortune 500 supplier markets by yielding these outcomes:

  • Equip Black Founders with Comprehensive Resources—Provide access to financial and professional services, expert advice, and personal connections to maximize success.

  • Develop Economic Strategies—Grow and scale technology businesses to vie for and win lucrative Fortune 500 supplier opportunities.

  • Cultivate Entrepreneurial Networks—Expand and strengthen reach through authentic relationships with ITSMF members, our corporate network, and other Black founders.

  • Build Knowledge and Leadership Competencies—Create greater long-term success through next-level training and expert mentoring.

  • Exchange Ideas—Foster a welcoming, like-minded entrepreneurial and executive community for idea exchange and support.

  • Increase Economic Empowerment—Increase existing and generational Black wealth that results from long-term, sustainable business growth.

IGNITE Your Potential: 

Get Involved Today

We have several ways for you to get involved! Whether you’re a Black tech founder looking to grow and scale your business, a corporate entity doing your part to create parity in the supply chain, or an inspirational subject matter expert ready to mentor Black entrepreneurs and innovators, ITSMF offers opportunities for you to get involved.

Apply to the IGNITE Academy

Join our community of passionate Black tech founders. Take your business to the next level and apply to the IGNITE Academy today!

Join Our Entrepreneurial Network

Supporting Black tech businesses is crucial for promoting diversity, innovation, and economic growth in the tech industry, and for creating a more equitable society. Join the Fortune 50, 100 and 500 companies in our business accelerator program that are actively improving diversity, equity, and inclusion across the global supply chain.

Share Your Expertise as a Subject Matter Expert

We need speakers, instructors, and panelists who have expertise in venture capital, negotiating deals, scaling startups, navigating the complex world of AI to grow entrepreneurial enterprises, and more! Your knowledge and passion could greatly benefit aspiring and established tech entrepreneurs who are motivated to take their startups to the next level. Email Denise Smith, IGNITE Academy Director, to learn more.


Johanna Jones

President & CEO


Robert Scott

VP/Dean, Global Institute

for Professional Development


Denise Smith

Director, IGNITE Academy


Michael Whitley

VP, Development and Advancement


Cedric Cobb

Director, Development and External Partnerships



Damani Short


Lexico Consulting

Dane Bamburry

Sr. Director, Enterprise Architecture

Cox Enterprises

Hugh Campbell


AC4S Technologies

D. Lena Hickman-Miott


Miottech, LLC

Ibrahim Jackson

Founder & CEO

Ubiquitous Preferred Services

Launa Lawhorn

Director of Operations &

Technology Transformation Office


Valarie Mackey


WrightNow Solutions

Cedric Nash


The Black Wealth Summit/

Oakland Consulting

Stephen Paskel


IT Solutions International LLC

Alana Robinson

Founder, President & CEO

Robinson Consulting Group, Inc. 

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