Dear OFC Community:
A few weeks ago Johnny Taylor, President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and I visited Silicon Valley to meet with leaders in the entrepreneurship space. After our visit, we left with a clear vision that we must "Chase excellence not money.” With that message at the forefront of our minds, we have decided to postpone the OFC Venture Challenge that was to be held April 9-12, 2015 in Atlanta Georgia. We strongly believe it would be a disservice to our participating schools, students and sponsors if we were to host a program that does not align our HBCU community with a 21st century economy that is driven by technology and disruptive business models.
We have an exciting vision for the 2016 OFC program that includes a partnership with a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. By way of this partnership, our students attending HBCU’s will have the opportunity to be linked directly to successful entrepreneurs and companies in Silicon Valley. Essentially, we will bridge the gap between underrepresented institutions and Silicon Valley and aiding tech companies in their efforts to create a more diverse work force.
In the following weeks, we will take steps to communicate our changes. As our key stakeholders, it is important to us that you assist in the dissolution of the existing OFC Venture Challenge format as well as involvement in transformation and development of our next innovation in 2016. You have a role to play in helping us prepare and satisfy the due-diligence for our elevated programming.
Thank you for your continued support.
M. Scott Lilly
VP of Programs