Institute of Black Wealth

Slip-N-Slide CEO Ted Lucas forms partnership with Florida Memorial University for tech innovation programs

The new partnership will build up tech knowledge for HBCUs

Florida Memorial University (FMU) and Slip-n-Slide Records CEO, Ted Lucas, join forces in a collaboration to develop and participate in joint program development and funding opportunities that will promote and position South Florida’s only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) as a technology and innovation hub for the region’s Black and underserved communities. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between FMU and TechNolij, Lucas’ tech and entrepreneurship-focused non-profit, aims to bring programs and initiatives that create and sustain Black wealth. The MOU was supported and executed by FMU’s president, Dr. Jaffus Hardrick.

Florida Memorial University is South Florida's only HBCU

“Miami and this entire South Florida region is quickly becoming the epicenter for all things tech and entrepreneurship, and from my purview, we’re still falling short and well behind in how Black and underserved communities are represented in these opportunities,” shares Ted Lucas. “As the only HBCU in this region, my objective is to have Florida Memorial University as the hub for where Black business opportunities are fostered and created, tech and innovation companies come to find diversity talent and emerging startups, and where Black entrepreneurs new to South Florida come for support.”

Opportunity to build up HBCU tech talent pipeline

For FMU, the MOU signals the university’s interest in building its talent pipeline for cyber security and emerging tech and to also accommodate the workforce needs of the community.

“At Florida Memorial University, our mission is to build a talent pipeline for the future and to align our degrees and programs of study to meet future workforce needs, which is the underpinning for the university’s on-campus Cyber Innovation Hub,” shares Dr. Jaffus Hardrick, President of Florida Memorial University. “This MOU with TechNolij creates an opportunity for us to expose our students to opportunities within the greater economy and to also invite corporate partners and technology companies to collaborate in ideating programming that will help close the knowledge and access gaps for the Black community.”

City of Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez, who will be attending the announcement recognizing the MOU noted, “this partnership is an extension of my vision to make Miami the ‘capital of capital’ with an innovative technology ecosystem and economy that delivers for everyone. The fact that the only Historically Black College or University located in South Florida is making this announcement on the eve of Black History Month, is yet another indication that this is not a moment but a movement!”

The broader goal of the MOU is to ensure that Florida Memorial University is included and has a presence in the growth of the region’s innovation economy. TechNolij will help identify and secure strategic partnerships that support FMU’s Cyber Innovation Hub and other technology programs and also pursue joint funding opportunities in support of FMU’s operations. The University will provide designated office and lab space for TechNolij and provide curriculum and instructors to support the Cyber Innovation Hub as funding becomes available.

“As a graduate of an HBCU, I am enthused to see a partnership that places Florida Memorial University at the forefront of tech and innovation. While it fosters the minds of today’s students, it enriches the development of Miami Dade County’s future leaders,” says Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners Vice Chairman Oliver Gilbert

Miami Gardens Mayor, Rodney Harris, also welcomes and supports the opportunity to expand access for residents in his city and across South Florida.

“These are the kind of partnerships that will assist in our efforts to position ourselves to be among the leading cities that understand the significance of the continued integration of technology in our daily lives,” shares Rodney Harris, Mayor, City of Miami Gardens. “We know that technology is driving advancements in a variety of fields such as medicine, transportation, and financial investment, and it is imperative that our young folks receive opportunities to enter into the tech workforce. Those jobs will be even more crucial in the future, and the talents of our youth should be fostered, because the unique perspectives they have are valuable to creating a world of tech that suits everyone.”

TechNolij’s on-campus presence kicks off with the launch of the Institute of Black Wealth and brings together various partners, community leaders, and entrepreneurs for deal making and to create business opportunities that promote and closes the Black wealth gap. Ultimately, the Institute of Black Wealth will create a similar presence on HBCU campuses around the country. All programs and initiatives of TechNolij and the Institute of Black Wealth happen independently of the University.

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