What does a business leader in the tech industry look like? Tamar Huggins hopes Canadians will picture more people like her — young, ambitious and a woman of colour.

Huggins will be among 15 award-winners receiving Harry Jerome awards for merit today, taking the Young Entrepreneur honour for her work creating the Driven Accelerator Group, a 12-week program that aims to diversify the talent pool in the digital job market in Toronto.

The Harry Jerome awards honour achievement in Canada's African-Canadian community.

Huggins's work in creating the mentorship program in 2012 was recognized for helping women and minority tech founders bring their brightest ideas to the market.

She told CBC News winning the award felt "amazing."

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A status of Canadian track and field runner Harry Jerome is shown in Vancouver's Stanley Park. (Nick Kenrick)

"There's research that shows that women and minorities consume technology at a higher rate than any other group, yet when we look at who's creating that technology, we don't see a lot of women or minorities creating the Facebooks or the Instagrams of the world," she said.

"A lot of it is because they don't feel as if they want to belong, and so we wanted to create a program that spoke specifically to their needs."

Huggins didn't stop there.

In June, she's launching a new program called TechSpark that will help youth in the city's Weston-Mount Dennis community learn to code.

"We're going to teach them how to be programmers," she said, adding that the larger goal will be to connect young people with internships and possible job opportunities so they can start a tech career or even start their own business someday.


Tamar Huggins is receiving a 2015 Harry Jerome award on Saturday for her work creating a mentorship program for women and minorities who wish to become business leaders in the tech sector. (CBC)

The 33rd Harry Jerome Awards are supported by the Black Business and Professional Association, and are named after celebrated Canadian track and field runner Henry "Harry" Winston Jerome, who represented Canada at the 1960, 1964 and 1968 Summer Olympics.


  • Henry "Harry" Winston Jerome, who represented Canada at the 1960, 1964 and 1968 Summer Olympics, not the 1912 Olympics as was reported in an earlier version of this story.
    Apr 24, 2015 8:50 PM ET