Starex Smith is an accomplished and experienced public administrator, fundraiser, foodie, and culinary business developer who has committed himself to maximizing the Black experience in the United States! He currently serves as Vice President of Strategy and Development for Black Tech Week with over twelve (12) years of experience in managing public/private partnerships, large scale events, and nonprofits. He has successfully raised over 20 million dollars in funding for various governmental entities, food companies, and individuals. Starex has assisted countless food industry businesses successfully obtain funding, taking mom and pop storefronts to scalable businesses. His success in working with restaurants sparked a passion for food and entrepreneurship which led to the launching of Southern Bytes, a teaching platform food business dedicated to an ever-evolving food industry with a focus on technology, culture and innovation. Having constantly run into stereotyping negatively affecting his dining and vacationing experiences, Starex decided to curate great destinations, restaurants, and discuss issues surrounding being a hungry Black man. This blog has morphed into the nation’s largest Black Food and Drink Media company, boasting over 100k subscribers and social media followers across all channels. Mr. Smith is also the founder and creator of the popular Ice Cream Heaven brand which he sold in 2021. Starex completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s coursework in Public Administration at Florida International University where he served as president of the Black Student Union and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, Lambda Tau Chapter.