Can Technology and Education Help End Poverty in Atlanta's Inner City Neighborhoods? This Guy Sure Thinks So.
At a recent "Hackathon" event at Atlanta's TechSquare Labs, dozens of local college students and professors were divided into teams, brainstorming ideas for new healthcare apps.
During the lull right after lunch, technology entrepreneur Rodney Sampson decided to address the crowd.
It wasn't planned. It wasn't scripted. But the result was amazing.
I just happened to be there, capturing random video footage for TechSquare Labs' website. So when Mr. Sampson began to speak, I let the camera roll.
Shooting an Inspirational Video
I didn't know much about Rodney Sampson at the time, but it's obvious from this video that he's passionate about Atlanta, and about using technology to help the city's disadvantaged inner-city youth rise up out of poverty.
It turns out he is involved in several economic initiatives. Partnering with WorkSource Atlanta and The Iron Yard, he launched Code Start—a code writing training program for young people between 18 and 24 with no high school education.
He's also part of ATL TechHire, a federal program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Part of the Google for Entrepreneurs network, TechSquare Labs is a resource and seed fund for technology startups. Founded by two successful technology investors, TSL helps mentor young entrepreneurs so they can "Build Something From Nothing."
So when Rodney Samson—one of the two tech investors that started TechSquare Labs—picked up that microphone, it should be no surprise that he had something to say.
Pacing the stage like a TV evangelist, he started talking about hope. About using technology and education to help minority students. And he talked about his dream—finding a way to make the technology industry more diverse and inclusive.
For an impromptu speech, it was truly inspirational. Fortunately, I was in the right place at the right time.