Black Entrepreneurs Are Part Of A New Migration To The South, From Silicon Valley To Atlanta

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Written by Ann Brown

Not only are everyday Black folks moving from major urban centers like Chicago and Philadelphia to Southern cities, particularly Atlanta, but tech entrepreneurs are migrating from Silicon Valley to Atlanta in large numbers as well.

In fact, Atlanta is becoming the nation’s Black tech capital. One in four tech workers in the city is African American. Not only is Atlanta more affordable than Silicon Valley, many Black techies are also finding the city’s tech sector much more diverse.


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Jamarlin talks to Ryan Wilson, founder of Atlanta’s Gathering Spot. They discuss Wilson’s plans to scale his profitable subscription and events business, and whether Kamala Harris’ candidacy will result in a civil war in Black America. They also discuss the term “people of color” and why Atlanta is one of the hottest cities for tech.

“For a growing number of African-Americans in the tech world, Atlanta is beckoning. Weary of coastal hubs that don’t reflect America’s growing diversity, they are packing up their lives and careers for a city with a rich history of entrepreneurship, a booming Black middle class, affordable quality of life and a small but growing tech scene,” USA Today reported.

One of the places were this is most evident is at The Gathering Spot, which is  a members-only, co-working and business networking hub west of downtown Atlanta. There you might spot anyone from Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams to rappers T.I. and Killer Mike to the cast of “Greenleaf” to a  Who’s Who of the local digerati.

Black Entrepreneurs
Ryan Wilson, the CEO and co-founder of The Gathering Spot | Image: Anita Sanikop

“I don’t think there is a better place in the country if you’re a Black entrepreneur to be,” Ryan Wilson, co-founder of The Gathering Spot, said of Atlanta. “I definitely stand as an example of what’s possible in this city if you really stay rooted here.”

More and more Silicon Valley Black techpreneurs are making their way South. “One in four tech workers in the Atlanta metropolitan area are African-American, significantly more than San Jose, California, where 2.5 percent of the tech workforce is Black, and San Francisco, where 6.4 percent of the tech workforce is Black, according to a Brookings Institution study on black and Hispanic underrepresentation in the industry,” USA Today reported.

However, as in Silicon Valley, white men still dominate the leadership of tech companies in Atlanta. According to regional data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Blacks make up 5 percent of executives and 11 percent of managers at area tech companies. And despite the larger number of Black tech entrepreneurs in Atlanta, it hasn’t equated to more venture capital dollars for Black startups.