We asked Emile #4QUICKQUESTIONS regarding Blacks in tech, his firm's role in the community and what he sees for himself in the future.
1. Why should Blacks be excited about tech?
Blacks should be excited about tech, because it's where the future jobs and opportunity lie. By the year 2020, there will be 1.4 million new tech jobs, and at the current university rate, 70% of those jobs will go unfilled. Illinois has over 100,000 open jobs in tech. The average income of an IT professional is greater than the average black and latino family combined, with an unemployment rate at a third of the rate of black families in Chicago. We've always been innovators and creators, and I truly believe the next Mark Zuckerburg will probably be a black woman.
2. Tell us about BLUE 1647 and why it's so important to the community
BLUE1647 is a technology and entrepreneurship center, focused on enlarging the technology community. Underserved areas deserve to be a part of the innovation economy, and there needed to be intentional space where folks build, collaborate, and learn. We're part digital vocational school, part coworking space, and part business accelerator. It's important that we are located in the community, and our subsequent locations are located in the community, because "trickle down innovation" will not work to increase jobs and opportunities in our communities. In Chicago, over a billion dollars was invested institutionally in the downtown, River North areas, and it's amoral and immoral to think they have all of the answers. I believe technology is an opportunity to solve problems at scale, and I want to ensure our communities are solving problems for our communities, and adding the much-needed diversity to the innovation pool.
3. How did you fall in love with Tech?
I fell in love with tech when I saw how in 18 months, an entrepreneur can go from one user to hundreds of millions. With my community-first background, I wanted to create the AAU of diverse tech talent. I want to see what the Derrick Rose of tech can do, and how catalytic it can be for our communities when that sort of wealth is generated, and hopefully reinvested back in our communities through job growth and investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs. The folks that started Paypal became wealthy, then they invested in friends who created YouTube. We all use tech, we are all creative, and we can change the game.
4. Whats next for Emile Cambry?
Scale, scale, and more scale. I want us to be in as many markets as possible, creating the model for rebuilding communities in the 21st century. I want to extend that to other countries, where they have a diverse population I want to continue to fight for economic and social justice, and see where that takes me. I want a million people a day to interact with programs we've created, and if that happens, we can change the narrative of what our communities are, and can achieve. Twitter wouldn't be what it is if it weren't for blacks. Neither would Instagram. We have a knack for making things cool and relevant, and we need to start making some money from it!