A Black woman says she is poised to change the gaming industry after entering the male-dominated space of owning a collegiate esports and gaming company.
Atlanta-based entrepreneur Keshia Walker has launched the “Black Collegiate Gaming Association” (BCGA) aimed at making Black college students more than consumers and competitors, but creators and career professionals in the industry.
Walker says the company will partner with leading historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to offer a 360-degree approach to learning and gaining access to the burgeoning technology industry.
“Gaming is a $159 billion industry and 73 percent of African Americans ages 13 years or older identify themselves as gamers. Yet, only three percent of those working in the gaming industry are Black and a mere one percent are professional gamers. Those numbers just don’t add up,” Walker, founder and chairman, of BCGA said.
“There is a huge opportunity to diversify the gaming industry to be more reflective of its customer base while exposing young people to promising career opportunities. BCGA is here to open doors and literally change the game of gaming.”
Walker says BCGA has already secured 16 HBCUs as charter members, including Jackson State University, North Carolina A&T, Texas Southern University and her own alma mater, Florida A&M University.
BCGA’s programming will incorporate virtual and on-campus curriculums; intercollegiate video gaming competitions; internships and post-graduation job opportunities; team building and leadership training; professional development and networking events; scholarships and mentorships; and on-campus esports and gaming labs.
Participating schools can also build competitive esports teams to challenge each other in tournaments for scholarships, cash and other prizes.
In addition, Intel, GameStop, Nacon Gaming, and Hitmarker have all signed on as corporate partners.
Walker says this is just the beginning of how she plans to leverage BCGA to diversify both the pro-competitive gaming world and the industry in general.
BCGA will launch its programming next month with “Military Play,” an online, three-day esports and gaming virtual tournament.
Players will compete in Madden 21, Rocket League and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The Veterans Day weekend competition will honor all those who serve and have served in the military. Winners will receive cash and prizes.
Further, BCGA says it will make history this spring by hosting the first-ever multi-city “Black College Con” and “Women Got Game” summits.
Black College Con is scheduled to kick off in Atlanta and take place during HBCU conference tournaments in February and March; while Women Got Game will take place in March during Women’s History Month.
Walker says both conferences will be centered around dialogue relevant to African Americans and women of color in the gaming industry; esports competitions; and connecting Black and female college students of color with multicultural industry leaders for advice, mentoring, education, internships and career opportunities in gaming and esports.