DURHAM — By all accounts, it isn’t easy being a black entrepreneur. From accessing capital to securing vital contacts, data shows that black founders face disproportionate barriers.

But local entrepreneur Tarryn Henry is working to change that.

This June 4-5, she is hosting the inaugural T.H.E. State of Black Tech Summit in downtown Durham — a two-day conference with the aim of raising awareness about what kinds of opportunities exist in the Triangle’s ecosystem for black entrepreneurs.

“This summit is not a diversity and inclusion conference. It was created in response to the needs expressed by our community members,” said Henry, who is founder and CEO of Tarryn Henry Enterprises (T.H.E). “They want opportunities to learn, engage, and build with each other. They also want spaces to celebrate their blackness, their brilliance, and their love of technology.”

Local entrepreneur Tarryn Henry

Henry is a well-known entity in the Triangle’s black tech community.

For a three-year stint starting in 2016, she served as American Underground’s startup programs manager. During that time, she worked with Google for Startups, CODE2040, ImBlackInTech and others to support the development of black and Latino tech founders.

“Our main goal is to support the development of a more connected ecosystem that improves the state of black tech in the Triangle,” she said.

T.H.E. State of Black Tech will include an “all-star” team of speakers including  Dr. Deborah Stroman, founder of Stroman Athletic and Asset Management; Doug Speight founder and CEO of AnnexTech Partner; Tivi Jones, marketer of Hey Awesome Girl.

To register, go here.

Conferences highlight black entrepreneurs in Triangle, but exec says ‘there’s a lot of work still to be done’