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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Hi, tech: A new home for overlooked community in Camp North End
BLKTECH Interactive moves to increased space
 
Published Thursday, January 18, 2018 9:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

BLKTECH Interactive is no longer an initiative with events.


It has a 1,200-suqare-foot physical home at Camp North End, which opened on Jan. 6 featuring the work of designer Quintel Gwinn of Qwin Gwinn Studios and a mural by artist Jimi Thompson, known as Dammit Wesley. The space is funded by a one-year grant sponsorship from the OrthoCarolina Foundation.

BLKTECH is the latest member to establish a space at Camp North End since New York-based ATCO bought the site in 2016 for $13.5 million with designs to repurpose the area rather than demolish it.

“BLKTECHCLT represents the best of what the North End Smart District should be,” ATCO Co-President Damon Hemmerdinger said.

Plenty of crusaders have taken up the call to make Charlotte a more inclusive place, but few have attacked socioeconomic disparities like BLKTECH’s President and CEO Sherrell Dorsey. In 2016, she started ThePLUG, a weekday newsletter that highlights stories of people of color in tech as well as a monthly event series called #BLKTECHCLT.  

A data journalist and entrepreneur, Dorsey learned to code at age 14. Finding herself in the minority at Charlotte tech events, she created a space to foster a black tech scene—which now has a concrete location at Camp North End, a 75-acre space that once produced missiles and Model T Fords.

“We’re beyond enthusiastic to expand our work through BLKTECH Interactive’s initiative across North Carolina with the installation of BLKTECHCLT at Camp North End,” said Dorsey, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in data journalism from Columbia University. “As neighbors in Charlotte’s growing smart innovation district, we’re looking forward to continued growth and collaboration as we move into the hub of neighbors working toward an inclusive and innovative ecosystem.”

BLKTECHCLT and Carolina Small Business Development Fund have provided $100,000 in micro loans to entrepreneurs of color. Dorsey and Partnership and Logistics Director Enovia Bedford have created opportunities to connect mentors, as well as individuals with the tools they need to succeed.

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