2019 Inclusive Entrepreneurship Conferences on Our Radar

Jet across any part of the country and you’ll come across a host of conferences designed to ignite the inclusive entrepreneurship movement. At the Case Foundation, we’ve crisscrossed the nation to attend and speak at a number of these events—from SXSW to Urban Tech Connect and Fortune Most Powerful Women—to learn new ways to build the social, financial and inspirational capital needed to support diverse entrepreneurs.

As we look towards the new year, the team has assembled a list of the preeminent conferences across the globe that are designed for diverse founders, ecosystem builders and startup champions who are seeking to collaborate and build the relationships needed to drive meaningful change for inclusive entrepreneurship. We are certain that you’ll find something for every stage of your business as you work to accelerate brands.

  1. Blacktech Week, February 5-9, 2019, Miami, Florida: BlackTech Weekend connects entrepreneurs, tech professionals, educators and creatives to the resources they need to be competitive in the innovation economy. Together they explore the ins and outs of life as techies, entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders.
  2. Watermark Conference for Women, February 21, 2019, Silicon Valley: This year’s Watermark Conference will unite more than 100 speakers and 6,500 women from across the globe in search of inspiration, motivation, networking, personal and professional development, and community. Jean Case is slated to take the stage, as well as activist Gloria Steinem, champion and investor Serena Williams, educator Brené Brown, Sequoia Capital’s Jess Lee, and founder and CEO of MM.LaFleur Sarah LaFleur.
  3. Lesbians Who Tech, February 28, 2019-March 2nd, Silicon Valley: This is one of the largest LGBTQ professional events in the world, focusing on increasing the visibility of women, LGBTQ women and LGBTQ women of color in tech, demographics that are underrepresented in the tech sector.
  4. SXSW Interactive, March 8-12, 2019, Austin, Texas: While the Case Foundation is gearing up for a big SXSW announcement, you can check out a few sessions led by our team in the meantime. On March 9th, Jean Case will host a Be Fearless Book Talk. Also be sure to add to your calendar two sessions on March 12th: one moderated by yours truly featuring Veronica Dagher of the Wall Street Journal, Jean Ellen Cowgill from Bloomberg’s TicToc and Catherine Clifford of CNBC on How to Tell Your Startup Story, and a second Case Foundation led session on The Overlooked Future of US Entrepreneurs: Latinx featuring Dyan Gibbens from Trumball Unmanned, Marcos Gonzalez from Vamos Ventures and C’pher Graham from Seed Spot. Stay tuned for our annual SXSW Sessions to Watch Blog coming soon.
  5. HBCU@SXSW, March 8-11, 2019, Austin, Texas: Since 2015, HBCU@SXSW has exposed high-potential technical and non-technical students of color to programming and opportunities within inclusive entrepreneurship. Last year, more than 100 students from 41 colleges and universities attended SXSW. Check out the USAToday feature on the experience that unites students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). Apply to attend HBCU@SXSW HERE.
  6. Women in the World, April 10-12, 2019, New York City: Going on its tenth year, the event convenes powerful women leaders, blazing activists and courageous movers and shakers who will move you with their provocative first-person storytelling and change your worldview. Previous speakers have included Nobel Peace Laureate & Liberian Peace Activist Leymah Gbowee, Co-Anchor of CBS This Morning Norah O’Donnell, Award-Winning Actress and Activist Viola Davis, Sally Yates and founder of TaskRabbit, Leah Busque.
  7. Black is Tech Conference, April 12-13, 2019, New York City: This conference creates a platform for Black and minority tech professionals, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to connect. With an expected attendance of over 1,000, the Black is Tech Conference will provide a platform that creates more inclusion of people of color in startups and the technology sector. Speakers will include executives from Harlem Capital, LISNR, First Round Capital, 500 Startups, Citibank and more.
  8. Women of Silicon Valley, May 2-3, 2019, San Francisco: This conference invites you to join more than 1,500 tech leaders and professionals from the hottest startups to learn from industry pioneers. You’ll experience inspirational keynotes, panel discussions on business strategy, technical classes, and career development workshops. Speakers include executives from Slack, Salesforce, Accenture, PepsiCo, Microsoft, IBM and Coursera.
  9. Urban Tech Connect, May 16, 2019, Los Angeles: Last year, the Case Foundation’s Sarah Koch took the stage at Urban Tech Connect in an interview with Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Watch that interview HERE.) The conference is designed to support and provide networks for startup founders of color. Last year’s speakers included Keith Coleman from the Tesla Foundation, Brian Martinez from Airbnb, Derek Smith from Plug In South LA and Natalie Bruss from Fifth Wall Ventures.
  10. Summit 21, June 7-8, 2019, Atlanta, GA: Summit 21 is a carefully curated gathering that will assemble the most influential black women of this generation from across the country to learn and grow together. This 2-day experience is designed to give women entrepreneurs, creators, and influencers the opportunity to hone their visions and gain valuable insights to achieving their goals. Through engaging masterclasses and fireside chats, Summit 21 provides hands-on experience with the brightest and most inspiring leaders across sectors. Speakers included actress, producer and screenwriter Lena Waithe, Myleik Teele of CurlBox, Lilly Workneh of Blavity, and investor Monique Woodard.
  11. Forbes Women’s Summit, June 17-18, 2019, New York, NY: This conference celebrates the women who are making a change while inspiring,  connecting and empowering women around the world. Featuring keynote conversations, panel discussions, one-on-one interviews and interstitial spotlights, the Summit brings together the voices and insights of a diverse range of female luminaries from the worlds of business, entertainment and politics. Speakers include leaders from Nest, Audi, Pipeline Angels, SAP and more.
  12. Code2040 Summit, July 27-28, 2019, San Francisco, CA: Attendees will experience two days of deep, enlightening programming that will equip you to play an active role in the inclusive entrepreneurship movement. Whether you are a startup founder, a college student breaking into computer science or the head of diversity and inclusion at a major tech company, Code 2040 wants to empower you.
  13. Essence Festival, July 4-7, 2019, New Orleans, Louisiana: Connect with some of the most successful power players in the country for interactive exchanges designed to help you take your career or business to the next level. Essence offers attendees front row seats as CEOs, business owners and flourishing entrepreneurs from across multiple industries share inspiring stories and tips for how you can follow in their footsteps.
  14. BlogHer Summit, 2019 Date TBD, Location TBD: Each year, more than 2,000 social media influencers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, activists and all-around amazing women head to the BlogHer summit. Past speakers have included Uzo Aduba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Arianna Huffington, Chelsea Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg, Serena Williams, Carla Hall, Soledad O’Brien, Ava DuVernay, Kerry Washington and President Barack Obama, so you’re guaranteed an amazing 2019 lineup!
  15. National Urban League, July 24-27, 2019  Indianapolis, Indiana: The National Urban League Conference is the largest annual civil rights conference that kicks off with the State of the Urban League by NUL president Marc Morial. It attracts thousands of the nation’s most influential community leaders, policymakers, startup and small business leaders, and media for four days of dialogue, networking and entertainment. The gathering also features the Small Business Matters Entrepreneurship One-Day Summit and Young Professionals L.E.A.D. (Leaders. Entrepreneurs. Advocates. Dreamers.) Summit.
  16. Female Founders Conference, multiple dates, multiple locations: Last year, three events took place throughout the country featuring combinator partners, alumni, and other female entrepreneurs and investors. Speakers included Christina Cacioppo of Vanta, Jess Lee from Sequoia Capital, Holly Liu of Kabay and Ashley Wong of Gemnote.
  17. Rural Rise Summit, September 16-19, Pine Bluff, AR: The second annual Rural Rise Summit will bring together community leaders and rural ecosystem builders. Over three days, they will work to answer the question, “How do we empower the leaders, doers and innovators in rural communities?” Rural Rise also hosts monthly action session calls to learn more about the successes and learnings from communities across the country.
  18. National Black MBA Association, September 24-28, 2019, Houston, TX: The 40th Annual convening unites their members, corporate and university partners and some of the world’s most sought after thought leaders. More than 10,000 professionals attend each year for sessions on “Big Data: Algorithms vs. Human Analysis”, “The First 90 Days: Making Your Mark as An Executive”, and “Motivating and Retaining Generation Z”. Also check out events like the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge sponsored by FedEx, “Meet the Experts” expo stage featuring representatives from Microsoft, Nationwide, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.  
  19. Black Wall Street Homecoming, September 2019, Location TBD: This is an annual networking conference for early-stage entrepreneurs, focused on the intersection of content, connections and culture. Celebrate and learn from diverse, multicultural entrepreneurs, their investors and the community that supports them. Speakers have included executives like Arlan Hamilton from Backstage Capital, JaNay Queen Nazaire of Living Cities, McKeever Conwell of TEDCO and Torrence Reed from HBCU Wall Street.
  20. Project NorthStar Conference, October 2019, Location TBD: This three-day tech conference provides connections, education and opportunities for current or aspiring entrepreneurs of color. If you are currently building a tech startup or aspiring to build one, this is for you. Organized by Black & Brown Founders (BBF), in partnership with the City of Philadelphia the conference works to establish a framework that helps people with modest resources create a path to economic security.
  21. Grace Hopper Celebration, October 2-4, 2019, Orlando, FL: This is the largest gathering of women technologists in the world. It seeks to inspire and educate women in tech and connect them with companies that view technological innovation as imperative. Last year’s speakers included Sherrell Dorsey of ThePLUG, Shelly Bell of Black Girl Ventures, Stephen Green of WeWork, Brigitte Daniel of Wilco Electronic Systems, Aniyia Williams of Black & Brown Founders and Karla Monterroso of Code2040.
  22. A3C Festival & Conference, October 2019, Location TBD: At this conference, thousands of artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and industry veterans from around the world will hear from more than 200 speakers who focus on topics ranging from civil rights, brand activism, mental health, building a movement, entrepreneurship, health and wellness.
  23. Black Enterprises TechConneXt, October 2019, Location TBD: This is not just another tech conference, it’s an opportunity to engage, empower, and recruit tech talent of color. More than 500 tech professionals gather to hear from speakers like Morgan DeBaun of Blavity, Melinda Briana Epler from Backstage Capital, Nancy Douyon from Uber and Damien Hooper-Campbell of eBay.
  24. Fortune Most Powerful Women, October 21-23, 2019, Washington, D.C.: Fortune Most Powerful Women has evolved into a convening of the best women in business, along with select leaders in government, philanthropy, education and the arts. Speakers and attendees come from companies like Ariel Investments, The Home Depot, The World Bank, Bumble, OpenTable, the New York Stock Exchange, Microsoft, Airbnb and Instagram.
  25. Blavity Afrotech, November 7-10, 2019, Oakland, California: You’ll join more than 3,000 engineers, designers, and business leaders for groundbreaking content that includes a 360-degree look at how culture and tech run the world.
  26. MogulCon, November 2019, Location TBD: MogulCon unites industry influencers, startup founders and female business owners to share their knowledge on how to create more powerful female entrepreneurs. MogulCon 2019 is about providing attendees with the resources that will help them build a sustainable strategy and accelerate the growth of themselves and their business. From master classes to fireside chats, every experience at MogulCon is focused on molding attendees to think, act, and be a MOGUL.
  27. Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen, Fall/Winter 2019, Location TBD: The annual Next Gen summit will gather a stellar group of game-changing executives, entrepreneurs and innovators in business, along with leaders in government, philanthropy, education and the arts for a wide-ranging conversation. You’ll join speakers and attendees like Glossier founder and CEO Emily Weiss, Nextdoor Co-founder Sarah Leary, Andreessen Horowitz General Partner Connie Chan, Stitch Fix CMO Deirdre Findlay, FabFitFun Co-founder Katie Rosen Kitchens, Maven Founder and CEO Katherine Ryder, plus standouts from Fortune’s Brainstorm TECH network and 40 Under 40 list and executives at leading global companies such as Airbnb, eBay, Facebook, IBM, Lyft, Mastercard, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, NBCUniversal, Salesforce, Twitter and Visa.
  28. Tech Inclusion, Multiple dates in 2019, Multiple Locations: Created by Change Catalyst, Tech Inclusion events bring the local tech industry together to find solutions for diversity and inclusion. You’ll join executives, hiring managers, human resources personnel, data scientists, engineers, educators, entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and diversity and inclusion advocates at three events across the year in locations like Melbourne, New York and San Francisco. Learn new solutions for diversity and inclusion, meet underrepresented entrepreneurs and investors, speak with policymakers and educators, interact with inclusive and accessible design, and collaborate and network with other people who care about creating positive change in tech.
  29. Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, Date TBD, Location TBD: Gain access to the connections, financing, resources and strategic insight you need to launch and grow your dream business. This is the must-attend event for aspiring business owners, startup founders, and established entrepreneurs looking for new money-making and growth opportunities for their ventures.
  30. LULAC’s Latinx Tech Summit, Date TBD, Location TBD: Presented by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in partnership with Capital Factory and Prospanica Texas, the annual Latinx Tech Summit is designed for Latino tech leaders, designers, innovators, corporate and government leaders, and scholars. The one-day program features engaging peer-to-peer discussions, culturally relevant professional development, and exceptional opportunities to interact with Latinx public officials, artists, scientists, authors, business executives, scholars, entrepreneurs and Latino tech leaders from every major industry.

Have a conference we missed that you would like added to the list? Tweet us or share on Instagram @CaseFoundation.