Artificial intelligence

‘Google for Black Women’; An Interview with Leigh Higginbotham Butler, Founder and CEO of Akina Technologies

Leigh Higginbotham Butler, Founder and CEO of Akina Technologies

Artificial Intelligence technology is creating endless possibilities for a modern global society, and it has become essential to have an AI tool that is culturally competent to promote inclusivity and ensure equal access to technology. Ask Akina acknowledges the varying cultural identities, ideologies, and principles of Black women by comprehending the intricacies of language, traditions, and societal expectations. In this interview with TechBullion, Leigh Higginbotham Butler, the Founder and CEO of Akina, further discusses how Akina serves as a culturally competent AI assistant and the opportunities available with this platform.

Please tell us more about yourself.

I am Leigh Higginbotham Butler, founder & CEO of Akina Technologies, PBC. I am also a wife of 17 years and mother to 3 sons. 

What is Akina and what inspired this idea of ‘Google for Black women?

Akina is a social and professional network that is revolutionizing how Black women are connected and resourced by intersecting technology and community. Our digital campus serves as a hub of information, tools, resources, and entertainment to help Black women achieve better outcomes in entrepreneurship and career development, maternal health and health care, and mental health and wellness. 

Akina actually started as a social media app for Black moms. It came about in the aftermath of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. As a wife and mother to 3 handsome Black boys, I knew something had to be done and Akina was born. 

Akina began as a community for Black mothers: What inspired you to expand to address professional development, mental health, and entrepreneurship for Black women?

We were just supposed to be an outlet for Black moms to connect and share experiences, resources, and information in a safe place, but we quickly realized that our mission could be so much more for so many more. We began to pivot and expand our mission to be a hub for Black women. From our motherhood community, we learned from our users (about 4,000 women) that they were looking for support in those three areas. We decided to expand our mission to do just that. 

Interview with Leigh Higginbotham Butler, founder & CEO of Akina Technologies

Could you give us more insight into the importance of community for Black women to connect, share experiences, and support growth? 

In my own life, I’ve learned that despite the obstacles, the voices of Black women, like mine, are essential threads in the tapestry of innovation and resilience. From juggling motherhood to carving out our space in the business world, we face our own unique set of challenges.

That’s where Akina comes in. We’re all about leveling the playing field by giving folks access to resources, knowledge, and networks that can take them from surviving to thriving. At Akina, we’ve seen how connections, shared experiences, and supporting each other can lead to some pretty amazing transformations.

Official Black Wall Street will be Akina’s premier platform partner: Can you expand on how this partnership will benefit Black-owned businesses?

Our partnership with Official Black Wall Street is all about enhancing the awareness of Black-owned businesses in their respective categories and encouraging our community to support them. Official Black Wall Street boasts one of the largest listings of Black-owned businesses in the country and offers its members a platform for engaging with their customers, additional marketing opportunities, and business education. Akina’s offering expands on that to include additional marketing opportunities through our EmpowerHer Perks program, which offers our members preferred pricing and benefits as an incentive to patronize these businesses. Akina also provides additional education, access to funding, and other opportunities to set up these founders and business owners for success.

Over the past few years, Black founders have faced stark inequities, could you reiterate, how professional networking is a proven strategy to amplify rising Black entrepreneurs and how a resource center like Akina would be of great help?

Professional networking has become crucial for boosting Black entrepreneurs, helping them forge connections, secure funding, and tap into industry insights that might otherwise be out of reach. Spaces like Akina, a resource hub for these founders, offer a valuable platform for collaboration, mentorship, and empowerment. These centers aim to bridge gaps by providing tailored tools and programs that boost visibility and growth opportunities for Black-led businesses.

Missed DEI opportunities are costing companies trillions in missed revenue, how is Akina supporting leading brands to call Black women into conversations?

Companies are beginning to understand how crucial diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are these days. Black households control over $1 trillion of the American economy. Companies are starting to realize you can’t leave that kind of money on the table. Akina proactively supports top brands in having meaningful interactions with Black women. We use data analytics and industry expertise to help businesses create marketing that truly connects with diverse audiences. From workshops to listening sessions to putting Black women front and center in brand visuals, Akina makes sure those voices matter in shaping products and campaigns. This not only taps into new markets but also boosts revenue growth.

Interview with Leigh Higginbotham Butler, founder & CEO of Akina Technologies

At what stage development is, and what do we expect from the Akina 2.0 launch this month4? Do you have more tips for our readers today?

Akina will be launching in beta in March with the website coming online and the app to follow. We are pre-selling our memberships now – join the waitlist on our website. To learn more, visit us at

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