Online entrepreneurship has become the chic field of choice for young technology-trained professionals, making for an industry so immense it sports a fair share of millionaires and global icons. The online world’s transformation into a multi-faceted corporation hub has become such a big deal it’s now issuing achievement awards to its largest groundbreakers and savviest minds.

Popular African-American technology website Black Web 2.0 and Hewlett-Packard (HP) recently announced their top 50 list of Tech Tastemakers, a computerized compilation of the hippest developers, thinkers and risk-takers in today’s virtual rat race.

Debuting in the top 25 of this year’s list is a pair of local businessmen, Clarence Wooten and Mario Armstrong, who’ve made it their mission to conquer the web. Wooten’s ascension to No. 22 on this year’s list wasn’t by sheer coincidence. Termed a “serial entrepreneur” by {Entrepreneur Magazine} in February 2000, Wooten has set up and sold some of the largest grossing websites throughout his 16-year career.

The Maryland native’s ImageCafe.com emerged as the Internet’s first online superstore of customizable “websites-to-go” before cashing out at $23 million seven months after its launch in the first quarter of 1999. As the founder of social collaboration webpage groupsite.com, Wooten has a budding list of up-and-coming online projects poised to remain on the cutting edge of the Web’s evolution.

“I’ve watched the Internet evolve and social media has become a big part of that evolution,” Wooten said. “Companies are growing faster in record time than ever before because of this. I think we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of what’s happening on the Internet.”

The Baltimore-based Armstrong already has a full plate of titles in front of him, but that hasn’t stopped the Tastemakers’ No. 7 online mogul from continuing to look for a little digital dessert. A regular guest on the “Today” show and the host of a daily technology talk show on Sirius XM, Armstrong is in the process of launching a nationwide science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S.T.E.M.) tour designed to inspire the next generation of innovators.

Armstrong, who is also founder of TechTechBoom.com, said he wants to better people’s lives by educating them on how to leverage technology to enhance their personal and professional lives and hopes his recognition as a Tastemaker will help inspire others.

“I got caught off guard and blessed at the same time,” Armstrong said. “You crank out hard and you try impact people’s lives and try to educate them about technology and how it can really help improve their lives and you just hope that you’re making some type of impact. So to get some kind of recognition like that with Black Web and HP was huge.”

To learn more about Clarence Wooten, visit his website clarencewooten.com

To learn more about Mario Armstrong, visit his website marioarmstrong.com

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO