#MMTC17 Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference Highlights

by mmtcbbsj on August 2, 2017

The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) thanks everyone who contributed to making our 15th Annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference another success and one of our best ever.  This year’s conference was successful in achieving its theme of “Financing America’s Future.” Whether you participated in person or via our live webcasts, your support helps to fulfill MMTC’s mission to empower diverse businesses and to help underserved communities to succeed in the media, telecom, and tech sectors.

In addition to the summary below, videos of each session are available here.

Day 1:

Day 1 of the conference featured sessions that provided information on 5G, diversity in media, telecom and tech  ownership, and the latest developments in the Internet of Things.

MMTC Telecom and Policy Task Force Open Meeting:4G vs. 5G: Next-Gen Apps, Wired, and Wireless Technology Take Us to the Future”

#MMTC17 kicked off with the Telecom and Internet Policy Task Force Open Meeting on 4G vs. 5G, where industry leaders from the top telecom firms discussed the latest in the next generation of wireless technology – from our wired and wireless infrastructure, to end-user apps – and their impact on multicultural consumers, jobs, minority- and women-owned business enterprises, and the nation’s economy.

Congressmembers Emeriti and Co-Chairs of MMTC’s Telecom and Internet Policy Task Force, Hon. Clifford “Cliff” Stearns and Hon. Edolphus “Ed” Towns, delivered opening remarks. MMTC’s Vice President of Telecommunications and Spectrum Policy, Dr. Rikin Thakker, moderated the panel and opened the discussion with a presentation on the latest in 5G, including the role of our nation’s wired and wireless infrastructure. Industry experts provided global insights  on what next-gen wireless 5G will offer in tech and for consumers, including more high-speed data and greater application efficiency. Panelists were: David Don, Vice President, Regulatory Policy, Comcast; Rebecca Hunter, External Affairs, Corporate Development and Strategy, Crown Castle; Steve Sharkey, Vice President, Government Affairs, Engineering and Technology Policy, T-Mobile; Sanjay Udani, Ph.D, Vice President for Technology Policy, Verizon.

Access to Capital Awards Luncheon

Following the 5G panel was the Access to Capital Awards Luncheon, hosted by MMTC’s President and CEO of MMTC, Kim Keenan in a celebration of success and opportunities in access to capital for diverse entrepreneurs in media, telecom and tech. MMTC conferred its Champion of Access to Capital Award upon Keynote Speaker Benjamin Todd Jealous, and inducted National Coalition on Black Civic Participation President and CEO Melanie Campbell into its Hall of Fame.

Increasing Minority Ownership in Television and Radio Broadcasting,” Presented by MMTC Media and Telecom Brokers

As the luncheon wrapped up, attendees and panelists headed downstairs to the Washington Ballroom for another discussion on increasing minority ownership in television and radio broadcasting. David Honig, President Emeritus and Senior Advisor for MMTC was joined by Suzanne Gougherty, Director and Senior Broker for MMTC Media and Telecom Brokers to moderate the panel. Panelists included Marcellus Alexander, President of the NAB Education Foundation; Joseph Di Scipio, Senior Vice President, Legal and Federal for Communications Commission Compliance, Fox Television; Tomas Martinez, Owner and President of Solmart Media; DuJuan McCoy, Owner, President and CEO of Bayou City Broadcasting; and Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media.

The session highlighted the NAB/NABEF Capital Assets strategic initiative to increase capital availability for minority and women broadcasters, and NABEF events and initiatives, including the Broadcast Leadership Training Programs. The presenters also discussed the Awareness in Reporting Initiatives Inaugural Reporting on Race effort; the growth of broadcast radio and television; and how market expansion creates opportunities for minority and women ownership.

Game of Drones: Smartfarms, Driverless Cars, Drones, and the Latest Developments in the Internet of Things”

This panel addressed how, from drones to driverless cars, the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we live and interact. Leaders in tech innovation demonstrated the impact of the latest game-changing technology on opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs and the lives of communities of color.

Kristal High Taylor, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Politic365 moderated the panel. She was joined by Aws Ali, Enterprise Manager at PrecisionHawk; Linda Gill Anderson, Director of Membership at the National Parking Association; Bradley Baird, Government Affairs Project Coordinator, Policy and External Affairs at Microsoft; and Catherine McCullough, Executive Director at Intelligent Car Coalition.

Access to Capital Awards and Networking Reception

To wrap up the first day MMTC held its Access to Capital Awards and Networking Reception in the Promenade. Maurita Coley Flippin, Executive Vice President of MMTC and Erwin Krasnow, Vice Chair of MMTC Board of Directors and Chair of MMTC’s Mentoring Committee, co-hosted the event as they presented MMTC’s Extraordinary Service and Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. They also highlighted MMTC’s mentoring committee and acknowledged its current and former fellows, interns and staff. Pedro Zamora, Owner of Zamora Broadcasting, received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award while Hon. Alfred C. Sikes, Former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and George H. Simmons, Founder and CEO or BingeNow, received Extraordinary Service Awards. Kim Keenan ended the reception with closing remarks and acknowledgements.

Day 2:

FCC Commissioners’ Breakfast

The second day of the 15th Annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference started early with the standing-room-only FCC Commissioners’ Breakfast. Moderated by Deborah Taylor Tate, Former Commissioner for the FCC, current and former FCC commissioners and senior staff discussed media incubators, net neutrality, the revival of the FCC’s Tax Certificate policy, consumer policy municipal broadband, digital equity, the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity in the Digital Age, and more.

There were remarks from Matthew Berry, Chief of Staff of FCC; a chairman’s address video from the Chairman of the FCC, Hon. Ajit Pai; a one-on-one chat with Hon. Mignon L. Clyburn, Commissioner and Former Acting Chairwoman of the FCC, and Kim Keenan, President and CEO of MMTC; a one-on-one chat with Hon. Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner for the FCC and Hon. Deborah Taylor Tate, Former Commissioner of the FCC; a one-on-one chat with Hon. Richard “Dick” Wiley, Former Chair of the FCC and Hon. Deborah Taylor Tate. Remarks were given by Joan Marsh, Senior Vice President, Federal Regulatory at AT&T.

Infrastructure, Supplier Diversity, and the Jobs of the Future: The Economic Impact of Broadband Infrastructure Investment Under the Trump Administration”

This signature panel on jobs and opportunities in infrastructure buildout was moderated by Dr. Ronald Johnson, President, Solutions4Change, LLC and Director/Treasurer of MMTC. It opened with special remarks made by Frank Freeman, Chief Administrative Officer for FirstNet, followed by a panel of experts.  Panelists were: Michael Dennis, CEO of Big Green Group; Roslyn Layton, Visiting Fellow, Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy of American Enterprise Institute; Spencer Overton, President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; and Sanford Williams, Director, Office of Communications Business Opportunities for the FCC.

The Key to Bridging the Wealth and Skills Gaps Through Wireless Apprenticeships”

This panel focused on whether apprenticeships can be the solution to bridging both the skills gap and the persistent wealth gap between minority and majority communities.

It was moderated by Maurita Coley Flippin, Executive Vice President of MMTC. Special remarks were given by Daniel Villao, Deputy Administrator, Office of Apprenticeship for the U.S. Department of Labor. Panelist were: Debra Bennett, Training Consultant and Director of Apprenticeship at the Wireless Infrastructure Association; Ronald Marlow, Vice President of Workforce Development for the National Urban League; Rikin Thakker, Ph.D, Vice President of Telecommunications and Spectrum Policy at MMTC; and Daniel Villao, Deputy Administrator, Office of Apprenticeship for the U.S. Department of Labor.

The presenters at this panel were all part of the Wireless Infrastructure Apprenticeship Access Initiative. The WIAAI is a consortium of the National Urban League, the Wireless Infrastructure Association, and MMTC, who have partnered under the U.S. Department of Labor’s ApprenticeshipUSA equity initiative to achieve greater diversity and inclusion in the telecommunication industry through apprenticeships. The panelists discussed the DOL’s $90 million investment in apprenticeships and its value to the U.S. economy, and how apprenticeships have been lauded as having greater value than a four-year college degree in industries in which the skills gap creates labor shortages.

Congressional Luncheon

The Congressional Luncheon provided an opportunity for current and former members of Congress, state legislators, and policy advocates to address the biggest issues in telecom, tech, entrepreneurship, and the digital divide, and the impact of these issues on their constituents. The luncheon was moderated by Brent Wilkes, President and CEO of League of United Latin American Citizens and a member of MMTC Board of Directors. Remarks were given by Hon. Tony Cardenas, Member of the U.S House of Representatives, and Hon. Yvette D. Clarke, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Hon. Edolphus “Ed” Towns, Member of Congress Emeritus and Co-Chair of MMTC’s Telecom and Internet Policy Task Force, provided the invocation. Attendees heard opening remarks from Hon. Clifford “Cliff” Stearns and Hon. Edolphus “Ed” Towns. Hon Julia L. Johnson, President and CEO of NetCommunications and Chair of MMTC’s Board of Directors, had the pleasure of introducing the keynote speaker, Hon. Rodney E. Slater, Former Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Ari Q. Fitzgerald, Partner at Hogan Lovells and Secretary of MMTC’s Board of Directors, presented Intel with the Corporate Social Impact Award. The award was accepted by Pia D. Wilson-Body, Executive Director, Intel Foundation & Director of Greater Americas, Corporate Affairs at Intel.

After the luncheon, MMTC’s President and CEO Kim Keenan announced the expansion of the “Santana Initiative to Encourage Mobile Video Use for Social Justice.” She was joined by Hon. Laura Hall (AL), National President of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative (NOBEL) Women; Hilary O. Shelton, Director of NAACP Washington Bureau & Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy for the NAACP; Brent Wilkes, President and CEO of LULAC; Steven Smith, Executive Director of the Media and Telecommunications Project and Public Policy Institute for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition; and Ronald Busby, President and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., each of whom provided remarks expressing their organization’s support of the Santana Initiative. The Santana Initiative was inspired by Feidin Santana, the young man who recorded a South Carolina police officer fatally shooting a fleeing, unarmed man.

Rethinking the Investment Game: Angels, Incubators, Accelerators, Crowdfunding, and Other Alternative Capital Sources”

Attendees heard from leading financial experts from venture capital companies, incubators, crowdfunding and other alternative financing experts and learned exactly what funders are looking for when making investment decisions. The panel was moderated by Nicole Lazarre, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Urban League. Remarks were given by Curtis N. Symonds, Founder and CEO of HBCUX Networks, and Patrick Campbell, Partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Panelists included Kate Glantz, Director of Entrepreneur Initiatives DC at SEED SPOT; Doug Gordon, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President, Fundation Group LLC; Caroline Hofmann, Chief Operating Officer at Republic; Paula Jagemann, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, Someone With Group; Matthew Lancaster, President at Keiretsu Forum of Pittsburgh; Maureen Murat, Esq, Founder and CEO at Crowdie Advisors LLC; Rodney Sampson, Partner at TechSquare Labs and Chairman of The Opportunity Hub; and Aaron Saunders, Founder and CEO at Clearly Innovative Inc., Luma Lab, and DC’s Inclusive Innovation Incubator – In3DC.

MMTC Capital Pitch Competition

The 2017 Access to Capital Conference ended with the second annual MMTC Capital Pitch Competition. This competition is designed for idea phase and early-stage multicultural startups in the areas of media, telecom, tech, and access to capital. Five multicultural- and women-owned startups pitched to a panel of judges for the chance to win a $5000 grand prize. In addition to the first and second place winners selected by judges, conference attendees had the chance to vote for the People’s Choice Award via Twitter using the hashtag #CapPitch17 or using the MMTC conference app.

The competition was hosted by Brandon Andrews, Senior Consultant at Values Partnerships and Casting Agent for ABC’s Shark Tank and Steve Harvey’s Funderdome.

The panel of judges consisted of Estrella Cramer, Supplier Diversity Director at UPS; Kim Keenan, President and CEO at MMTC; Aaron Ting, Assistant Deputy General Counsel at Comcast; and Pia D. Wilson-Body, Executive Director, Intel Foundation & Director of Greater Americas, Corporate Affairs at Intel.

MMTC Capital Pitch Awards and Networking Reception

To wrap up the conference, MMTC held the Capital Pitch Awards and Networking Reception. At this reception, MMTC announced the Capital Pitch Competition Grand Prize, Second Prize, and People’s Choice Award winners. Brandon Andrews hosted the reception Kim Keenan closed out with remarks and the presentation of awards.

There were no losers at this year’s Capital Pitch Competition.  The Pitch Competition resulted in two 1st place winners, Hua Wang, CEO of SmartBridge Health and DeShauna Spencer, Founder and CEO of kweliTV, both of whom received $5000, thanks to Estrella Cramer’s generous on-the-spot donation on behalf of UPS.  UPS also made it possible to give an honorary prize of $1,000 each to contestants Derrius Quarles, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer for BREAUX Capital, and Chad Hall, CEO of Remodel Mate. The People’s Choice Award was given to Kiley Summers, Founder and CEO of SpenDebt, LLC after a tally of audience votes.

Special Thanks to our #MMTC17 Gold, Silver, and Bronze Sponsors!

The 15th annual access to capital and telecom policy conference was a huge success as it drew a large audience and discussed very valuable information surrounding important issues. Let’s keep up the momentum – Save the date for MMTC’s 9th Annual Broadband and Social Justice Summit – February 6th, 2018!


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