Rodney Sampson’s OHUB.SXSW Goes Virtual With Popups

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Rodney Sampson's OHUB
Committed to closing the racial wealth gap, Rodney Sampson’s OHUB.SXSW goes virtual with popups to ensure 2020 applicants won’t lose out amid coronavirus. Photo Courtesy of OHUB.SXSW.

Opportunity Hub (OHUB) Founder, CEO and Executive Chairman Rodney Sampson is committed to closing the racial wealth gap. He’s dedicated his career to ensuring Black people can experience an economic renaissance. One of the ways he’s strived to do so is by ensuring Black college students have a pathway to success – and he won’t even let the Coronavirus (COVID-19) stop him from accomplishing that goal.

After cancelling the live OHUB.SXSW & HBCU@SXSW experience in Austin, Texas out of an abundance of caution, Sampson and his team worked tirelessly to host a #BlackAndHired Virtual & Popup Experience in select cities so this year’s applicants won’t miss out.

The virtual experience and accompanying pop-ups were announced through an email Sampson sent to his network. He wrote:

“Right now, over $1 million and $16,750,000 in economic output* hangs in the balance as we were less than one week from execution. … That said, we didn’t want to let this year’s cohort of 500 scholars down. So, we’ve created a virtual experience with  pop-up component in Atlanta (March 13&14) and Kansas City (March 26-28). We’ve also added all of this year’s 1,500 applicants to the virtual cohort as well. We’re also opening the virtual experience globally; and some limited live-in-person popup access to our Atlanta ecosystem. You can learn more about the virtual + popup experience here and grab a badge.”

Sampson founded HBCU@SXSW in 2016. The program sponsors HBCU students to attend South By Southwest (SXSW) and has grown from sending 50 student its first year to 252 in 2019, according to the program’s webpage. The program boasts an immensely high success rate, stating “90 percent of the [HBCU@SXSW] students that attend are placed in paid summer internships or full time roles.”

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.

During an interview with digital media pioneer and Moguldom Nation founder Jamarlin Martin, Sampson spoke of the opportunity HBCUs had before them.

“There’s an amazing opportunity right now to just really reboot our historically black colleges and universities with updated curriculum, internships, apprenticeships, co-op programs, and literally transform the business schools,” Sampson said.

Sampson also partnered with Faltiron and WeWork in 2019 to provide a million dollars in scholarships to Black coders and other people of color to attend school. He enlisted notable names from the hip-hop community like Young Guru, Jay-Z’s audio engineer and 21 Savage for the accompanying tour.

“More and more we are seeing entertainers, celebrities, professional athletes and influencers with large platforms like Lebron James, Will Smith and Beyonce lend their influence and money to K-12 education, HBCU scholarships and startup investment funds for people of color,” Sampson said in a prepared statement.

RELATED: Hooking HBCUs To Black Tech: Rodney Sampson, GHOGH Podcast Episode 6

“To this end, we began building relationships with artists like 21 Savage and Young Guru to open doors and back technology education and startup ecosystem building specifically. The majority of future jobs, high-growth startup ventures and multi-generational wealth building opportunities are in tech and are disrupting every major industry on the planet. Flatiron and WeWork believed in this vision and here we are,” he added.

OHUB also partnered with Amazon Web Services to “connect minority and women-owned enterprise software companies and IT professional services firms to federal, state and local government contracting opportunities and beyond.”

On its website, OHUB is described as “the future of work, fourth industrial revolution, startup ecosystem and new wealth creation for everyone, everywhere.”

To RSVP or learn more about the virtual experience and pop-up component OHUB is offering, click here.