November 1, 2016
You’ve been working intently on building Silicon Harlem for the last three years. Tell us more about the initiative.
We’re about building economic opportunity for all through digital literacy. At Silicon Harlem, we’re transforming Harlem into a technology and innovation hub. We establish co-working spaces, work to build gigabit infrastructure, secure investment capital, and convene entrepreneurs. We’re working to make sure Harlem and other urban markets have the same access to technology as anyone else. We can lower, if not eradicate, crime in Harlem, increase jobs, and increase quality education. How? By closing the digital divide. We can become as successful as anyone in the world if we improve the digital infrastructure, increase STEM education, and attract high quality tech jobs.
What opportunity do you see that others may have missed?
75% of people who are not connected to the internet have a desire to be connected but cannot afford to be. So why don’t we address that gap? Silicon Harlem is developing into a community broadband service provider. We know that we can sustain a business on low and middle class people that want that infrastructure – but don’t have connections now. We’ll reach the low-income person who can’t pay more than fifteen dollars a month. We will reach the elderly person on a fixed income. The incumbents look at that market and say it is too expensive, but we see opportunity. We are happy to do it.
What in your personal life has led you to drive this mission forward?