University of Delaware graduate student Garry Johnson placed first at the Startup Tech Conference and Pitch Competition at Prairie View A&M University on Feb. 22, 2018. The competition was hosted by A&M student group HBCU.vc, a not-for-profit organization that connects and equips the next generation of black and brown tech innovators and investors. The prize is an opportunity to interview for the DivInc Accelerator Program.
At the competition, Johnson introduced TalentPool, his newest iteration of a previous startup ColorCoded. Previously, Johnson focused his efforts into helping and teaching those young men and women of color who want to learn how to code or join the tech industry in general. TalentPool however, broadens this scope. Now Johnson seeks to bring a greater scale of diversity to both the tech and entrepreneurial world.
Getting there isn’t such an easy journey, but Johnson says he was prepared from the very beginning. “I was definitely prepared for success through several opportunities like VentureOn, Startup eXperience, NSF I-Corps Sites program, student-led pitch parties, I was ready to show out. Horn is my competitive advantage for sure.” Johnson competed against a modest group of students and was the only out-of-state participant in its entirety.
“The prize wasn’t what was really important to me, it was the validation that mattered. There’s something truly special about helping people who relate to you, who look like you, it’s more authentic.” With the development of TalentPool, he hopes to establish an educational platform that empowers entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, venture capitalists and more to get out into the world to start changing it.
Johnson will continue to build the concept and has returned to the customer discovery phase because of his growing customer base. Graduating in May with a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship & Design, he will dedicate the entire summer to building TalentPool out. “Before the summer is over, this platform will be ready, I believe people want it and need it. The entrepreneurial ecosystem needs it too, an equal playing field for all people to succeed.”
Garry is a social entrepreneur and community leader with a passion for utilizing design thinking to build a better world. He currently serves as a course instructor for Horn’s Ideas to Action curriculum where he empowers the next generation of high school entrepreneurs.