Spirit Of Kingonomics: Rodney Sampson’s OHUB And Flatiron School Launch $1M Scholarship Initiative

Spirit Of Kingonomics: Rodney Sampson’s OHUB And Flatiron School Launch $1M Scholarship Initiative

Kingonomics is Rodney Sampson’s word for the economic principles or “currencies” advocated by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A tech entrepreneur, investor and author, Sampson released the book, “Kingonomics” six years ago in Atlanta at the Access To Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Investment Conference.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 06: Rodney Sampson
A pioneering name in economic opportunity for Black tech, Rodney Sampson is the founder of HBCU@SXSW and the Atlanta-based Opportunity Hub. In this episode, Rodney discusses investing in Atlanta blockchain startups Storj and Patientory, and the importance of connecting HBCU endowments to Black tech.

Considered a global leader in building inclusive ecosystems, Sampson has a mission to help under-tapped communities access multigenerational wealth creation opportunities.

In 2013, Sampson cofounded Opportunity Hub in Atlanta and later merged with TechSquare Labs, a corporate innovation lab and seed fund.

Sampson has been a student of MLK since childhood, memorizing his “I Have a Dream” speech and performing it at local churches in Atlanta growing up, Devin Thorpe wrote in a Forbes report.

Rodney Sampson CEO, Opportunity Hub | Photo: Anita Sanikop

Opportunity Hub announced in 2018 that it had joined forces with Flatiron School to create OHUB@Flatiron, a initiative to expand access to tech for students from under-tapped communities. As part of the partnership, Sampson is hosting a tour with tech influencers, offering free courses, workshops, and introducing the Flatiron Opportunity Scholarship – a $1M+ scholarship fund for students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

Launched on Jan. 21, 2019, the Flatiron Opportunity Scholarship will provide 10 full- and 50 partial-tuition scholarships per quarter to Flatiron School’s software engineering and data science courses in NYC, DC, Houston, Atlanta, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, and online.

You can apply for the scholarship here. There’s a Feb. 11 deadline.

The #TechToWealth tour landed in New York City on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Sampson sat down with Young Guru and Avi Flombaum (co-founder of the Flatiron School) to discuss the importance of advancing racial equity through culture in tech, starting with gaining the skills to write code and build mobile and web applications for tech startups. Sampson also
signed copies of “Kingonomics”.

The 12 economic and entrepreneurial principles of ‘Kingonomics’

Forbes contributor Thorpe described the 12 economic and entrepreneurial principles Sampson identified in “Kingonomics”:

  1. Service: More than customer service, Sampson advocates service to mankind, “Many of us are discovering that selfishness, the currency of greed, is not all it was cracked up to be in business school,” he says.
  2. Connectivity: “Dr. King was, above all, a champion of connectivity. By that I mean he was always looking to build community—physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and economically,” Sampson says.
  3. Reciprocity: This principle represents a variation on the “buy local” theme with which we are all familiar. The key is to strategically give back to the communities from which you draw your profits. As an example, Sampson specifically encourages black churches to hire local contractors to build their churches.
  4. Positivity: “We are no longer obsessed with defeating the competition. We aim, instead, to be the best we can be while embracing competition as positive and necessary,” Sampson says.
  5. Personal Responsibility: King, himself, embodied Gandhi’s counsel to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Sampson argues that “followers must lead by the choices they make every day; then the leaders will follow.”
  6. Self-Image: Sampson argues not for vanity, but for the brand of pride that is defined as self-confidence. “Dr. King was a deeply spiritual man who believed that people have deep and abiding worth, no matter whom they are or where they come from,” he says.
  7. Diversity: Sampson, who grew up in an African American community saw his own world expand exponentially when he attended Tulane University. “We must… diversify our decision-making process by purposefully seeking out those who aren’t of our same ethnicity, religion, gender or social backgrounds,” he says.
  8. Character and Dignity: “Character, one’s moral or ethical integrity, is one of our most precious business currencies of all, and we must earn it, spend it, and invest it wisely at every opportunity,” Sampson says.
  9. Dreaming: Sampson, channeling MLK, challenges everyone to dream big with an eye toward changing the world. “We must each write our own internal ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, not only for our businesses but for our lives and the world as well,” he says.
  10. Openness and Transparency: Sampson observes that America’s “old boys club” has, perhaps unintentionally, done great harm to women and minorities who are often excluded from networks that operate behind closed doors. “We must learn to openly acknowledge our differences, with honesty, grace, respect, and even humor, as we continue to explore our commonality,” he says.
  11. Creativity and Innovation: Sampson argues that creativity and innovation are inextricably linked to diversity and openness, that collaboration with others of different backgrounds will lead to better outcomes. “Innovation will be the lynchpin of success in the new Collaborative Era,” he says.
  12. Courage: Interestingly, Sampson equates courage with love, noting, “Every human transaction, at its deepest level, boils down to a choice between fear and love… To act with love is to act with courage. It is to refuse to allow fear to dictate our actions and decisions.”