Afro-Latinx Tech Stars to Watch Out For!
We rounded up a list of talented, passionate, and hardworking tech entrepreneurs who are inspiring business innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Here is a short intro on four AfroLatinX who are making waves in the industry and are ones sure to watch!
The Founder Providing Capital to Underrepresented Entrepreneurs
A first-generation Afro-LatinX immigrant is undoubtedly making a name for himself in the startup world, using his talents to create a space for more people like him in tech. Luis Martinez is the founder of We Tha Plug, an incubator designed to help underrepresented groups launch their own startups by providing the tools and resources necessary to get their ideas off the ground.
We Tha Plug launched in June 2019. It includes a 12-week incubator program (held virtually due to the pandemic) that teaches aspiring entrepreneurs how to create a sustainable business model. The program focuses heavily on the fundamentals of how to build a company, so inspiring founders won’t need to rely on venture capital solely. He shares with NBC San Diego,
“In the tech and innovation space, (the Black and LatinX communities are) mostly underserved when it comes to resources when it comes to access to capital. And those are the two main functions that you need as a startup in order to succeed,” Martinez said.
Luis became inspired when he noticed the need for support among minorities in the tech/entrepreneurial field after attending an event in Silicon Valley. So he organized a small gathering to talk with Black and LatinX founders to talk about their businesses. He brought his connections together to create a space where minority business owners could connect and help them go from ideation to securing their first round of capital.
We Tha Plug hopes to launch 1,000 tech and innovation startups, help 100 Black and LatinX workers find jobs with those 1,000 companies they helped found, and create entrepreneurial partnerships with ten cities worldwide.
The Founder Bringing Awareness to Afro-LatinX Culture
Bianca Kea a Black American and a Mexican American founder of YoSoy. Bianca launched this company because of her strong desire to create a community for Afro Latinas who wanted to be seen and wanted to belong. Bianca —who considers herself “a fusion of two really dope cultures,” is on a mission to empower Black women within the LatinX community. The product line includes apparel and accessories with sayings such as “Not All Latinas Look the Same” and “Not Your Nena, Shawty, Mami, Baby, Princesa.”
Bianca founded YoSoy because she wanted to create a business and a product that she knew she could wear daily, and something bold and empowering. Bianca shares with BeLatina,
“At Yo Soy Afro Latina, we are on a mission to empower Black women within the LatinX community. Founded by a Black woman, YSAL celebrates Afro-Latinidad in the Americas, and we’re here to validate our hermanas’ experience. This is more than a trend or a movement. This is a celebration of a culture that is just as diverse as it is rich in pride.”
Bianca plans to diversify Yo Soy’s product portfolio, bring production in-house, and build out a team of Black and Brown creatives—areas of her business that are important to her. Yo Soy Afro Latina brings awareness and recognition to an often-overlooked community and sheds light on Afro LatinX beauty everywhere.
On her website, she shares: “My goal is to shed light on the beauty and the magnitude of Afro Latinas, to create a space where we are acknowledged, and to celebrate our beautiful, diverse culture. We’ve been here, and we’re not going anywhere. This is our time to shine.”
The Former Googler Coaching Others to Be Leaders in Tech
Joshua Encarnacion works as a Leadership Development Consultant. He’s helped build 3 tech-industry startups and worked in training & recruiting roles for big tech companies including UBER & Google.
He is a proud Afro-LatinX who sets his heart on growing and helping people grow into their full potential. He considers himself a lifelong learner, “growing and helping others grow” with nothing but love for his folks and the people he’s met along his journey. His tech career is stellar, having worked with Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Airbnb, Netflix, Slack, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp, Asana, and Tinder— to name a few.
He spends his time doing what he loves —coaching people through challenges by helping them grow emotional intelligence and high-performance habits necessary to create their own professional success. In addition, he works with clients on hiring, training, and strategy, to enable more growth and learning for professionals.
The Founder Delivering Healthy Food to Low-Income Communities
Benzii Diaz is the founder of Bodied Mealz on Wheelz. She developed the idea to provide healthier food resources for lower-income families and created Bodied Mealz on Wheelz. The business started as Diaz saw a significant demand increase for gluten-free products amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly almond milk, oat milk, and other specialty items were off the shelves at a rapid pace. “My husband and I didn’t have the necessary products that we used for our diet,” said Diaz. “Food shortages were happening at our local grocery stores, and that was a problem,” Benzii tells AL DÍA News.
Benzii knew she wanted to create a small business that would offer healthier food alternatives to low-income families who required a special diet. So instead of heading to her usual grocery store, Diaz decided to go to Whole Foods and was stunned when she saw the prices for non-dairy, keto-friendly products. Then she found ALDI and its own affordable line of products.
To date, Benzii is fundraising to support her ambitious plans for Bodied Mealz on Wheelz. She plans on purchasing a van that will transport groceries. The van will also double as a transport vehicle for female-identifying clients who don’t have access to transportation. By the end of the year, she also hopes to launch the Bodied Mealz on Wheelz app!