This month, digital media outlet Blavity hosted its inaugural AfroTech Conference to bring together more than 650 Black Millennials interested in tech, entrepreneurship, and the startup world. Event participants attended a series of panels and presentations that featured prominent industry leaders, influencers, and peers. The conversation focused on topics such as raising venture funding, combining tech and culture, and navigating the tech industry. Through a partnership led by eBay’s Diversity & Inclusion, Communications, Brand and Black Employee’s @eBay (BEE) group, eBay participated as one of the major conference sponsors.
The eBay booth was displayed alongside fellow conference partners Google, Amazon, Uber, and Facebook/Oculus. Structured as a conversational lounge space, the highly-trafficked booth displayed eBay’s new branding and was equipped with iPads featuring the Holiday Hub. eBay staff shared flyers introducing eBay’s ShopBot and encouraged conference goers to use the AI personal shopper for their holiday shopping needs.
eBay’s Chief Diversity Officer, Damien Hooper-Campbell, participated in a panel session targeting the 100+ students who attended the conference. During the session, which featured reps from Airbnb, Google, and Uber, Damien shared eBay’s philosophy on D&I, perspectives on why eBay is an ideal choice for students of color, and discussed efforts to make D&I an essential component of eBay’s recruitment efforts going forward.
As part of the conference’s main stage agenda, eBay presented a panel discussion on “Start-up Survival: Building a Small Business from the Ground Up.” The panel was moderated by eBay’s Open for Business podcast host John Henry and featured Odane Hanson and Andrea Harrison, two successful sellers from Atlanta and Chicago, and Emeka Anen, CEO of fashion industry startup, Throne. In front of a room with 600+ conference attendees, our panelists shared the personal experiences and challenges that come with starting an online business and staying afloat. The lively conversation was one of the best-attended sessions of the day and reinforced eBay’s commitment to partnering with its sellers, championing small businesses, and creating an inclusive and democratic platform for entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.
Following the panel discussion, the conversation continued during a Facebook Live interview on Blavity’s Facebook page. John Henry engaged each panelist further to discuss their tips and tricks for starting and maintaining an online business.
We look forward to continuing the conversation about entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion, and providing the tools our sellers need to drive economic empowerment.