Alax works at the intersection of Community Development; Technology; and Venture Capital. Known as a super-connector and ecosystem builder, Alax spends the majority of her time serving as a conduit for local Black and Brown founders and those interested in entering the Chicago market.
To you, what is an Ecosystem Builder?
An Ecosystem Builder at the core is someone who believes in the power of community and does their best to find the parts to the whole or connect those resources, people, etc. that need connection
What motivates you as an ecosystem builder?
Two things fuel my fire. Genealogy/Family History and Will. I have a deep fervor for entrepreneurship because I view it as a vehicle to rewrite my family and communities trajectory whether that be individual or societal. Additionally, people are incredibly powerful- from what we speak into existence to how we bring our imaginations to fruition. My will to transform underserved communities into capital markets or a modern Timbuktu is what drives me.
What is the most successful/impactful program/event/thing you do/have done in your ecosystem?
Hard to say. Most recently, we hosted a Black In Tech Night during Tech Chicago Week and it was truly a night that I believe many founders, technologists, and ecosystem builders were anticipating.
Besides that, I believe a good portion of my impact comes from bridging relationships. I don’t have the numbers but if I had to guess, I have made at minimum over 100 connections within the past 6 months for the benefit of economic development agencies, community and real estate developers, tech founders, emerging fund managers, etc.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an Ecosystem Builder?
Funding and Time
What is your biggest frustration as an ecosystem builder?
It’s a labor of love. If you’re looking for others to automatically provide the same value, compassion, or willingness to collaborate or support then you should turn around and not attempt ecosystem building.
What ecosystem building skill/knowledge do you want to gain?
How to develop a consortium when applying for federal opportunities/funding.
What are the most important things that need to happen to advance the field of ecosystem building?
It’s important that we make ecosystem building a formal role with a salary attached.
How Can We Support You in Your Efforts
“Follow Chi Tech Collective on LinkedIn, Twitter, and IG @chitechcllct.
We are currently putting together a delegation of Midwest ecosystem builders, emerging fund managers, and technologists to travel to AfroTech, so we are open to sponsors.
If you are an ecosystem builder and interested in hosting members of Chi Tech Collective in your city, let’s work!”