THE DIGI-DIVIDE AT SXSW 2014 STUDY RELEASED

The intersection of tech + Latinos is where our passion lies and where we see tremendous opportunities for growth and what better place to capture this experience than SXSW. It is for these reasons that earlier this year, we commissioned a study on the Latino experience at the SXSW Interactive Festival. Today, we’re proud to publish THE DIGI-DIVIDE AT SXSW 2014 STUDY, a first-of-its-kind report offers insight into Latino experience at SXSW Interactive Festival. Take a look at our press release below and to download the study, go to THE DIGI-DIVIDE AT SXSW 2014.

AUSTIN, TX (Dec. 16, 2014) – A recent study by Austin-based marketing, advertising and research firm Mando Rayo + Collective (MRC) in conjunction with EthniFacts and support from Kapor Center for Social Impact sheds light on the Latino experience at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, calling for greater inclusion of Latinos into programming and panels at the Interactive portion of the annual event.

Based on quantitative and qualitative research conducted during the 2014 Interactive Festival, the Digi-Divide report highlights three key themes:

  • Although Latinos are viewed as heavy users of social media and other digital media, they are seen as practically absent in development of technology and entrepreneurship.
  • Respondents appreciated SXSW’s inclusion via the “Latinos in Tech Track,” but more Latino-specific programming should be incorporated into the main event.
  • Including Latinos in “mainstream panels” is an important step to create inclusiveness and diversity in the broader conversations taking place at the conference.

“While we are pleased to see that Latinos are engaged in SXSW and the conference offers the Latinos in Tech Track, there is still a digital divide where Latinos are not fully represented as panel speakers, in programming or in networking opportunities,” said Mando Rayo, who commissioned the study.

Adrienne Pulido, VP of Strategy & Research at EthniFacts added, “Two major trends today are the growth of technology and the dramatic growth of Hispanics in the workforce. The inadequate share of Hispanics in technology careers and entrepreneurship is of great concern to those who participated in this report. This report outlines the enormous role SXSW can and should have on generating opportunities and potential solutions to close the gap, not because it’s a nice thing to do, but because it’s critical to our economic vitality.

More than 200 people participated in the Latino study consisting of an online survey, in-person interviews of attendees at the SXSW Interactive Festival and discussion groups.

Almost half of respondents (45 percent) believe that Latino participation in the tech space is lower than that of non-Latinos. The findings pointed to discontent that Latinos are not as involved in the creation of technology as they are in using tech such as social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Those sentiments align with recent findings that Latinos represent just 6.5 percent of the STEM workforce in the U.S. Although they make up 15 percent of the country’s entire workforce. In fact, Latinos represent no more than 3 to 5 percent of the workforce at major tech firms.

Located at the Holiday Inn Town Lake for its inaugural year, the Latinos in Tech Track offered a three-day program showcasing Latino talent an innovations in technology and media. Study respondents praised the Latinos in Tech Track as an opportunity to network and learn more about Latinos working in technology. However, many felt it was not on par with other SXSW events because it took place in a remote location and its timing conflicted key main event panels.

According to respondents, greater integration is vital to future success. While many had positive experience compared to previous years, many felt more could be done to include Latinos in mainstream SXSW panels and events.

The report, available to download for free at www.mandorayocollective.com/sxsw-report, offers 10 strategies that SXSW and tech companies such as Twitter and Facebook can put into action. It also recommends engaging key influencers and organizations dedicated to building capacity for Latinos in the digital space. Other recommendations include strategies for tech companies and Latinos along with training resources.

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Moving forward, Mando Rayo + Collective is working with SXSW to increase Latino programming for the 2015 Interactive Festival through panel participation, meet-ups and an official event at SXSW.

We’d also like to thank the contributors of the study including:

Study commissioned by Mando Rayo, Mando Rayo + Collective

Author/Editor: Sara Inés Calderón, Más Wired

Advisor/Editor: Jessika Gomez-Duarte, Collider

Creative Director: Paulina Artieda, Mando Rayo + Collective

Advisor/Editor: Adrienne Pulido, Ethnifacts

Advisor: Mike Lakusta, Ethnifacts

A special thanks to our volunteer interviewers: Daniela Lopez and Isabel Ann Castro.