Felecia Hatcher is a problem solver. When she noticed that Blacks were not actively participating in the burgeoning technology scene in Miami, she acted. To participate, there was a need for education. As a result, Hatcher founded Code Fever, an initiative that trains Black youth in technology and entrepreneurship.
“My husband and I came from a tech background and we just didn’t see the same kind of innovation and access in Miami that we saw going on across America,” Hatcher said. “Being sort of self-taught, we knew how important it was to get youth involved.”
So far, Code Fever’s programs have helped 322 youth across South Florida, from Richmond Heights to Lake Worth. Hatcher’s coders come from organizations that want to reengage youth, churches and Broward County Public Schools.
Students can participate in Launch a Startup in a Day or six-, eight- or 12-week boot camps. When done, students know CSS, Java and HTML coding languages and receive an Introduction to Coding certification. “There are so many kids in the community who can do great things,” said Hatcher. “All we have to do is harness their energy in a positive way.”
Hatcher says she dreams of having generational wealth to benefit her family, not unlike every Black family. Hatcher is creating wealth while solving a problem much like Madam C.J. Walker did in the early 1900s. Born Sarah Breedlove, Walker was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire by creating Black hair products. When she died in 1919, she left a lot of her money to Black charities.
To further solve the tech divide, Hatcher has turned a grass-roots movement into Miami’s first Black Tech Week. It is a part of her mission to help create 10,000 Black startups. During Black Tech Week, which is Feb. 23-28, attendees will learn how to code, pitch their ideas to investors and hear how to finance their startup businesses.
Hatcher said we are sometimes held back by fear of problems that do not exist. “Follow your most epic dreams. Don’t be afraid. Push past failure,” she said.