Daymond John Takes Black Entrepreneurs Day To The Apollo

Black Entrepreneurs Day, organized by Daymond John, the renowned founder and CEO of FUBU and co-star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” is set to take center stage at the Apollo Theater on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. EST.

Black Entrepreneurs Day has become a beacon of hope and empowerment worldwide through uplifting, inspiring, and supporting the dreams of Black business leaders across the globe.

Ahead of Black Entrepreneurs Day, BLACK ENTERPRISE spent time with John to discuss why game-changer conversations are important, what distinguishes pitch contestants, and who has the best chance of receiving a grant.


The NAACP Grant

One of the highlights of Black Entrepreneurs Day is the NAACP Powershift Entrepreneur Grants program, generously awarding over $200,000 in grants to deserving Black businesses. Since its inception, this program has provided more than $800,000 to entrepreneurs, impacting their journeys.

Thirty-five years ago, John was turned down by 27 banks as he tried to secure funding for his startup.

“They were right to turn me down,” John told BE. “I didn’t know how to articulate in a way that created a structure for the bank to feel comfortable lending to me.”

The grant application process is competitive, and John provided some tangible advice for grant applicants.

“Never take a cookie-cutter or copy-and-paste approach when crafting your grant responses,” John said. “Remember that a grant is somebody giving you free money, and they will know if you are cookie-cutting it.”

The $25,000 NAACP Powershift Entrepreneur Grant application window is open at until Oct. 11.


Game-Changer Conversations

A major attraction of Black Entrepreneurs Day is the insightful and inspiring “Game Changer Conversations,” presented by The General Insurance. This segment will feature intimate one-on-one discussions with influential Black business leaders and cultural icons, including Whoopi Goldberg, Shaquille O’Neal, Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Anderson, and Rick Ross.

“These discussions are the foundation of why we do this,” said John enthusiastically.

The conversations, moderated by John, promise to offer invaluable insights and wisdom to aspiring entrepreneurs.

John stated, “You never know how or when the message will hit someone. When you see these massive icons in business provide information, and someone is ready, it can change the trajectory of their life.”


Shopify Pitch Competition

Black Entrepreneurs Day partners with Shopify for the Shopify Pitch Competition, a thrilling live event where three new Shopify merchants will have the chance to win $25,000 and receive mentorship from John. 

“It is always the person pitching where you say to yourself, they are not going away, and it does not matter what product they have,” he remarked. “In that time when they’re pitching, you see them move quickly and adjust to the questions asked.”

This pitch competition is about financial support, nurturing talent, and fostering the next generation of successful entrepreneurs.

John says, “When someone pitches their product, those who talk about what their product will do, how many lives it will change, and how much joy it will bring stand out. It is infectious how it comes through a person.”

Empowering Dreams, Celebrating Diversity

At the heart of Black Entrepreneurs Day is a profound mission: to empower and celebrate entrepreneurs everywhere. This groundbreaking event has earned its reputation as one of the largest and most prestigious diversity and inclusion events in America. It’s not just an event; it’s a testament to the power of diversity and innovation in the entrepreneurial landscape. You can catch the action on the Black Entrepreneurs Day website, YouTube, Facebook, and other streaming platforms..