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Felecia Hatcher’s journey from popsicles to progress

Felecia Hatcher took her technology background and ended up in the unlikely business of popsicles. That led her to a different opportunity — providing technology education and fostering community engagement to make Miami’s technology scene more inclusive and sustainable.

“I worked for technology companies before I started Feverish Pops,” she said. “Popsicles came from the travel I was doing for the companies I was working for. Being a dessert fanatic — I got married at a donut shop, if that’s any indication — being on the West Coast and seeing Mexican paletas and not seeing that here, I wanted to marry my tech background to this mobile vending industry that is popsicles.”

Hatcher now runs Code Fever, which offers coding and startup training programs to “low-opportunity, high-potential students” in Miami, and organizes events like Black Tech Week.

How did you launch Code Fever?

The students that we were hiring with Feverish Pops, we knew they wouldn’t be in the popsicle business forever. We wanted them to stay here in South Florida, but to have a chance to be part of the ecosystem that was being built. And we knew technology was a great equalizer for them. When we first approached them, it was a foreign conversation, so we knew that was part of the problem.

How does Code Fever work?

We want them to be able to compete on a global level.

One of the things we were seeing is that, for the longest time, we’ve been focused on 10–21 as our market. As much as we pour into our students, the community would not necessarily see the benefit for 8–10 years when they graduate and go on to college. We were leaving out a whole pool of talent that could be our workforce — they just needed someone who would take the time and put them through a program. That’s why we wanted to be able to add an adult component to the program.

You’ve said the narrative of there not being diversity in technology is misleading. Why?

What do you want to see happen in Miami’s startup community?

I think one of the biggest things is patience. We want a lot of things to happen really fast. There’s been so much great work, and so many great collision points. There have been exits, and we’ve touched a lot of lives. One of the biggest things for me is being open to say you don’t know the answer. That’s extremely important.

If we talk about getting more people of color to come to events that don’t say it’s a black tech event or a Caribbean event — it’s about being willing to say, “I look around the room and there aren’t enough people of color in this room. There aren’t enough women in this room.”

How do you grow the tech community to more parts of Miami-Dade County?