Business Reader Contributed

Next in West Hartford Chamber’s Colorful Conversation Series: Barriers to Technology

The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce’s Minority Business Network will present a forum on ‘Barriers to Technology in Communities of Color’ on April 1.


The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, through its Minority Business Network, will hold the next in their Colorful Conversations series on Thursday, April 1, from noon-1:30 p.m. via Zoom and Facebook Live.

The Q&A-based forum will center around issues and concerns related to access to technology in underrepresented communities. Minority Business Network Chairman Christopher Clarke of Merrill Bank of America will serve as moderator for the hour and a half event.

“The Minority Business Network strives to provide resources and a voice for professionals of color,” says Clarke. “It is with that goal in mind that we pulled together our Colorful Conversation series. I am both honored and excited to serve as the moderator for the upcoming panel.”

Panelists for the forum are: Avi Smith-Rapaport, founder of We Care Computers, a full-service technology solutions business; Jorge Castro, managing partner of Discover Me, a company that builds websites for small businesses; and representatives from Comcast Business.

The Minority Business Network is a committee of the Chamber. It was founded in early 2020 as a means of providing visibility, networking opportunities and resources to Chamber members who are also members of underrepresented racial, ethnic, and religious populations. Their mission is to “increase visibility of minority-owned businesses, provide a discussion forum for the unique challenges faced by minority professionals, and increase diversity of Chamber membership.”

“Our upcoming colorful conversation around technology and the barriers that face communities of color is an important one,” says Clarke. “While many of us take our access to the internet and supporting devices for granted, some experts estimate that about one-third of minority communities don’t share in this luxury. Imagine the impact this plays in education, in business, and ultimately the survival of these communities.”

Colorful Conversations is the continuation of a series of roundtable forums the committee co-facilitated in late 2020 with Charter Oak State College Foundation. The three-part Shea Lecture series focused on disparities and inequities regarding access to capital, education, food, and healthcare in minority communities.

“I am honored and grateful to be invited to speak about the widespread national issue of access to technology, and the market forces which have both created & exacerbated the problem,” says Castro. “For far too long, a shockingly large number of small businesses have been priced out of the market for affordable access to professional websites. I’m incredibly excited to talk about solutions.”

Comcast Business, Liberty Bank, and The North Star Realtors are Gold Sponsors and Westfield Bank is Technology Sponsor for the event. To register for the Zoom visit: https://www.whchamber.com/events/details/discussion-on-barriers-to-technology-in-communities-of-color-colorful-conversations-series-5002

For more information on the West Hartford Chamber’s Minority Business Network, visit: https://www.whchamber.com/minority-business-network.

For more information on the event or to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Kate Kobs – Outreach & Development Coordinator at [email protected]

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