Like most business owners and entrepreneurs, 2020 forced Daymond John to pivot. Again.
And he believes the ability to pivot is one of the most important tools in any entrepreneurs’ tool kit. When the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd led so many to discussions about how to combat injustices and racial inequality both politically and in the business world, the answer for John was empowerment. He and his team came up with Black Entrepreneurs Day as a platform to aggregate a wealth of information that will help entrepreneurs launch and grow their business; to get in a position to make their own decisions and not be at the mercy of others.
“As soon as we came up with it, it was like a no-brainer,” the Shark Tank co-host tells BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“Everybody was like, ‘Thank you, why didn’t we think of that.’ And all these great sponsors and celebrities came in wanting to support and we just kept moving forward. So many sponsors came in and not just with a check, but saying ‘I wanna be side by side with you on the marquee; I want people to know that we stand for this. This is a worthy cause and this is long overdue.’”
Among those partners was JP Morgan Chase, which returns as the presenting partner for the Black Entrepreneurs Day 2021, set to take place on October 14th at 7pm at the Apollo Theater.
“When small businesses succeed, our communities are stronger,” says Brian Lamb, global head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at JPMorgan Chase. “
He continued, “As a firm, we’re committed to supporting Black entrepreneurs by helping them get access to the critical resources they need to start, grow and scale their businesses. We’re proud to be a part of Black Entrepreneurs Day and celebrate Black business owners who have faced extraordinary challenges yet continue to inspire us all.”
While this year’s event will take place in front of a live studio audience, it will also be streamed globally via Daymond John’s Facebook page, allowing the program to once again reach millions of viewers across the globe.
While he knew he was bringing something of great value to the market, John says he never anticipated to win awards for the programming he and his team presented to over 7 million viewers last year.
“I didn’t even know what the Webbys were until people started telling me I was nominated and should encourage people to vote,” he reveals.
Black Entrepreneurs Day took home two 2021 Webby Awards for Best Virtual & Remote, Business & Finance.
In addition to JP Morgan Chase, The General has also recommitted as a Black Entrepreneurs Day sponsor, helping to power the event’s “Game Changer Conversations,” which will find Tyra Banks, Marcus Samuelsson, Kevin Hart, Rev Run, Michael Strahan and Janice Bryant Howroyd sharing pivotal moments in their career.
The event will also find Kevin Hart leading a special edition of his Hart Felt Conversations, and a performance by rising R&B star Khalid. Other corporate partners include Facebook, Salesforce. Shopify, T-Mobile, and Johnson & Johnson, which brings the important conversation on health equity to the forefront.
“Being a business person is about learning something new every day,” says John. “A lot of Black people are not coming from generational wealth, where their grandparents or great-grandparents had businesses and were taught those things; or even access to great education in our communities. Even today, one of the biggest issues in the digital divide is lack of broadband. I think it’s important to see other people who have overcome the same obstacles and are still optimistic; to see them getting grants and sharing information. To see there are people who look like you who are successful.”
In addition to fostering dialogue about a variety of entrepreneurial topics, Black Entrepreneur Day will also welcome the next class of NAACP Powershift Grant recipients.
From now through September 28th, entrepreneurs and small business owners can apply for a chance to win one of eight $25,000 grants funded by event partners JPMorgan Chase, The General, T-Mobile, Salesforce, Johnson & Johnson, Shopify, Klaviyo, and Logitech.
“Applicants will stand out because they feel that there’s a lot of value that they’re adding to somebody,” John shares. “I always tell people: business is not charity. Nobody has to support your business. Your business exists because you created something at the right price that adds value to somebody else. That’s what we want to see from the recipients: number one, they add value, they know they’re serving people. They also know where they’re short, where they may need a bridge or they may need help. They have to be very in tune with their customer and the needs of the business.”
Ultimately, Daymond John hopes the key takeaway from this year’s Black Entrepreneurs Day will be the same thing he hopes many learned in 2020: the value in being able to pivot.
“There’s only two things that you’re ever gonna be in control of,” he explains. “The lens you look at something through, and the actions you take. And the lens you look through becomes broader and broader as you educate yourself further. We can’t predict what’s gonna happen tomorrow. But if we’re more educated about what’s going on and we know how to take affordable steps and remember that there are other opportunities and resources out there, that will help us pivot when hard times come.”
For more information visit BlackEntrepreneursDay.com