August 1, 2023

Black Tech Street Partners With Microsoft For Greenwood’s Digital Transformation

Black Tech Street has announced an alliance with Microsoft to transform the Oklahoma neighborhood of Greenwood, also known as “Black Wall Street,” into a national hub of Black talent and innovation. 

Greenwood and Black Tech Street

Greenwood is a historic freedom colony in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and had one of the most prominent concentrations of African American businesses in the United States during the early 20th century. 

It was popularly known as America’s “Black Wall Street” but was burned to the ground in the Tulsa race massacre in 1921 by a white mob.

The surviving residents chose to remain in Tulsa and rebuilt much of the district despite facing opposition from many of Tulsa’s white political and business leaders.

Founded by Tyrance Billingsley II in 2021, Black Tech Street is a network committed to scaling and cultivating Black potential through tech and entrepreneurship. 

The global Black tech hub is based in Tulsa and has been described as the rebirth of Black Wall Street.

“Our partnership with Microsoft is a perfect example of such an opportunity and reflects the essence of both our organizations,” said Billingsley.

“We are grateful for Microsoft’s game-changing support and engagement for Greenwood, and it sends a clear message that Black Wall Street will continue to be a national leader of Black innovation in the 21st century.” 

Creating 1000+ Black Cyber Professionals in Tulsa

Black Tech Street has been named the Microsoft TechSpark Fellow for the State of Oklahoma.

The program will empower the Black community and organizations with funding, programming, hands-on mentorship, and training and focuses on digital access, computer science education, digital skills, and digital transformation.

The first phase includes a series of community and Microsoft-supported investments aimed at raising the capacity of the Tulsa ecosystem to produce, attract and support Black cyber talent.

Black Tech Street’s goal is 2030 to leverage Microsoft’s programmatic support and resources alongside other national partners to create and enjoy 1000 Black Tulsans in cyber and adjacent fields.

The partnership focuses on workforce and skilling, education and digital access, innovation research, and thought leadership.

“Microsoft believes digital inclusion is core to ensuring everyone on the planet benefits from technological advances and that programming and opportunities must be created for those with the potential to be left behind,” said Ann Johnson, corporate vice president for security business development at Microsoft.

“We are pleased to work with Black Tech Street, local government leaders, and community organizations to help build and further reinforce Greenwood and Tulsa as centers for technology vision, leadership, and entrepreneurship.”

The announcement of this alliance was included in the Biden-Harris Administration’s report on its National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy to Unleash America’s Cyber Talent. 

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.