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Platform Summit, an inaugural event on the innovation economy, begins this week

hank(July 8, 2013) Platform, launched in 2012 with the mission to increase the interest, participation and success of underrepresented populations in the innovation economy, this week will host its inaugural Platform Summit at MIT Media Lab in Cambridge.

Platform's mission is to increase the interest, participation and success of those under-represented in the innovation economy -- with a particular focus on blacks, Latinos and women. Platform is working to ensure diversity on a broad and sustainable scale, with the intent to become a nexus for inspiration, education, opportunity and resources, effectively broadening the funnel that feeds new entrepreneurship. Established in 2012 with a Board of Advisors and sponsors, it is under the fiscal umbrella of The Tides Center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Please see for more information.

The TED-style event will span from Friday July 12 to Sunday July 14, featuring 30 esteemed speakers who are primarily innovators from underrepresented communities, an audience of influential business and thought leaders, and an opening-day session led by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Platform is a nonprofit organization founded by serial technology entrepreneur Hank Williams. It is sponsored by The S. Ahmad-Llewellyn Family Foundation, Google, MIT Media Lab and various individual supporters. Platform is a project of the Tides Center, its fiscal sponsor.

"If your professional life involves knowing the right people or developing the best strategies to navigate the innovation economy, and if you're looking for the most impactful place to spend a few days this summer, Platform Summit is the place to be," says Hank Williams. "We're honored to have Governor Patrick attend, and also support from General Colin Powell, Hollywood powerbrokers Christy Haubegger and Charles King, and technology industry legend Mitch Kapor amongst others. Their involvement speaks to the importance of opportunities for underrepresented communities in the next great chapter of America's economic recovery."

Platform Summit will showcase speakers such as legendary music producer Quincy Jones and media host Tavis Smiley, who will join other leaders from various fields across industry and academia, including technology, science, healthcare, media, finance, design and the arts. These esteemed speakers will host discussion sessions on such topics as "Failure: The Surprising Critical Ingredient of Success", "Learning the Fearlessness of Invention" and "Where Do New Ideas Come From?"

Statistics show blacks, Latinos and women are underrepresented in the fields that comprise the innovation economy, to the detriment of those groups and the nation. Accordingly, Platform Summit is aimed at forming a media property to help people along the innovation economy pipeline by supporting and connecting them to resources, networks and other mission critical needs for early stage businesses.

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