Black History Month is a time to celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of the Black community throughout history. It’s also an opportunity to recognize the ongoing efforts of individuals and organizations to create positive change and promote social justice.
As part of Cisco’s commitment to social justice, we have launched a program to diversify our partner ecosystem, under the purview of Social Justice Action 10. This included the establishment of the African American Cisco Partner Community (AACPC), a community of Black-owned Cisco partners focused on growth. Today we want to feature two AACPC partners who are driving significant community impact through their innovative programs.
Molaprise: NextGen empowerment and investment
Emmanuel Ola-Dake is the founder and Managing Director at Molaprise, a business based in New York City that offers innovative cloud and cyber security solutions to help companies transform their operations and improve their business outcomes.
Emmanuel’s story is one of courage and determination. Almost two decades ago he moved to the United States with very little but a thought of how he could create opportunities for not only himself but for others like him, ultimately leading to the creation of his own business.
Molaprise has a passion for developing and retaining qualified individuals who represent the diverse community of the city and underserved regions around the globe. The company launched a unique program last year called NextGen to empower and invest in the next generation of leaders and people of color.
“We understand the importance of providing opportunities for young people to succeed in the tech industry, particularly in underserved communities where access to resources may be limited,” says Emmanuel.
This program started in Ghana, West Africa, where Emmanuel’s team has a presence. It is centered on two fundamental principles: 1) increase economic empowerment, and; 2) address the technology skills gap.
“We completed our first cohort in Africa last year and are launching a new cohort this year,” Emmanuel explained. “If the talent is great, we will keep it in-house and fill some of the gaps we need. For example, Stephen Apenkwah, in our current cohort, is on his journey to achieve his CCNA this year.”
Emmanuel and his team have brought these same principles to impact talent in their backyard of New York City. Partnering with The City University of New York (CUNY), they recently provided six interns with six weeks of hands-on experience with technology, mentorship, and guidance. By partnering with schools and community organizations, NextGen helps young people gain valuable skills and experiencethrough technology-based projects and mentorship opportunities. The program has already significantly impacted the communities it serves and has helped create a more inclusive and diverse future for all. Molaprise is setting an example for other companies to follow through with their commitment to community impact and diversity.
IntelligIS helps previously incarcerated individuals Bounce Back
Marcus Wilson is a US Air Force Veteran and CEO of IntelligIS, an Atlanta business specializing in Managed Cloud and Managed Security Services for the hybrid workforce.
Marcus’ story is one of resilience. Thirty years ago, he walked out of prison and never looked back. Now Marcus hopes to leverage his lived experience to deliver meaningful change to society. He is doing this through a non-profit he created called Bounce Back, an initiative that provides purpose to those who have experienced the challenges of re-entering society after incarceration.
“This program is about restoration, hope, and a sense of direction,” says Marcus. “It is not a second chance program—some people never had a first chance.”
Bounce Back helps individuals to successfully re-enter society by providing them with technology skills and job training. The program focuses on teaching skills that are in high demand in the tech industry, such as networking and infrastructure services, and cybersecurity.
“Putting a technical skillset and certifications behind your name helps give you worth,” said Marcus.
By providing these skills, Bounce Back helps create a more inclusive and diverse workforce while also giving individuals a real opportunity to have a successful future as a thriving member of society. IntelligIS demonstrates the power of purpose and technology to drive positive change in our communities through commitments like these.
Using technology and purpose to create change
As Black History Month comes to a close, it’s important to remember that the celebration and recognition of Black contributions and achievements should not be limited to a single month. We must continue to support and uplift individuals and organizations making a difference in their communities. Through efforts like the AACPC, Cisco is committed to creating a more inclusive future for all. Check back soon for more impact stories like these featuring members of our African American Cisco Partner Community.
Learn more about the African American Cisco Partner Community here!
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