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TEC Leimert Hosts Annual Technology Conference in South Los Angeles

TEC Leimert Hosts Annual Technology Conference in South Los Angeles

TEC Leimert brings together industry experts, thought leaders and influencers from across a spectrum of top companies and connects them to aspiring Black professionals and tech entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. TEC

  • PublishedNovember 14, 2022

TEC Leimert brings together industry experts, thought leaders and influencers from across a spectrum of top companies and connects them to aspiring Black professionals and tech entrepreneurs in Los Angeles.

TEC Leimert’s annual technology conference was held in Leimert Park recently, and is the place you want to be If you are an entrepreneur, professional, student, creative, tech enthusiast or simply interested in navigating the digital economy.

The conference focuses on tech and entertainment to highlight new pathways toward monetization in environments of constant change brought on by technological innovation.

We caught up with TEC Leimert member Themba, to get his thoughts on this years conference and the work they are doing to bridge the gap in Los Angeles.

How was the idea of TEC Leimert birthed?

Themba: “TEC Leimert is a platform that was organized to educate individuals on the developments in technology and entertainment that have economic and cultural impacts on our everyday lives.

Vusisizwe Azania planted a seed in the minds of some of the men in his family to develop a business that would be both community oriented and sustainable.

His brother Rashidi Jones came up with the concept to develop a platform related to technology and entertainment. The impetus was that new technology is developing at a fast rate and affects our lifes in every way. We can’t run from it, we must embrace it as it shapes and shifts. Entertainment is the life blood and strongest economic driver in Los Angeles where they live.

Vusi’s son Themba Nelson and Rashidi’s son Lajuan Morris were brought along for the ride helping to shape the framework of what technology and entertainment mean to the middle generation that grew up with tech as another sibling.

The four began meeting frequently in 2017 at Vusi and Rashidi parents home on 6th Ave in Leimert park and came up with TEC Leimert – Technology Entertainment Convergence.

The plan then was much the same as the plan now – produce an annual marquee event, the TEC Conference, that touches on several pillars – film, gaming, music, AR/VR, culture, etc. TEC Leimert is also dedicated to engaging with young professionals and therefore created a program called NXT LVL which is an incubator and job placement program focused on 18-25yr olds seeking alternative forms of education other than college as a means to provide for themselves.

Lastly, STEAM camp to primary school youth, teaching them the building blocks to prepare them for the future world.”

What role do you serve in the organization?

Themba: “I engage in all aspects of the business. I serve on the board. I handle administrative/operational aspects for the business. I carry tables and get water when it’s time for events. TEC and all the folks who support it internally are family, and that makes it easy to bring the ideas to life. I am a personal injury attorney by trade, but I serve any role necessary for TEC.”

Why is it important for you, to be involved in curating a tech conference for local community members?

Themba: “Historically, black communities are underserved by larger institutions (financial, health care, education, etc.) The latest installment of that are tech companies. We see Silicon Beach taking root in Los Angeles, and there is very little outreach to the south Los Angeles community. Why this is a problem is because too often black creativity and

culture are often the building blocks for the content on these new platforms. It is important for us to create a platform that institutions can plug into, to build with and syphon off black creativity. The TEC Conference provides an opportunity for organizations to tap in with the black community to access black talent and creativity.

Why Leimert Park?

Themba: “The founders are Black men whose family has been rooted in Leimert Park since the 1970’s. Leimert Park is a hub for black culture in Los Angeles and one of the last historically black communities in Los Angeles. Leimert Park, like many other culturally historic communities, is undergoing gentrification.

And although the founders understand this is an inevitable aspect of community development. TEC Leimert wants to ensure that the black identity of the existing community is well represented during this change.”

In what ways do you envision TEC Leimert growing in the near future ?

Themba: “TEC Leimert has three components – its annual tech and entertainment conference, NXT level incubator, and Camp XSTREAM youth summer camp. TEC plans to expand the TEC Conference footprint to cover all of Leimert and bring in more companies into the community to discuss innovation.

We plan to expand the NXT LVL program as well. Currently, NXT LVL conducts a 12-wk social media marketing course and then places students with various companies for internships. Our goal is to expand the courses and place more students with companies.

Lastly, Camp XSTREAM was shut down during the pandemic. We intend to find more community partners to host the camp next summer.”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Themba: “TEC Leimert is only successful when our community brings their talents and network to the table, with the goal of making a cultural and economic impact in the community. We challenge everyone to continue to engage with us and other organizations that are making an impact in the community.

We encourage everyone to frequent Leimert and support the growing community. Engage with us in the digital space too. We are always seeking new ideas and new partnerships.”

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