Daymond John attends the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California.
Leon Bennett | Movie Magic | Getty Images
“Shark Tank” star Daymond John wants to boost Black business owners for the fourth year in a row.
FUBU CEO’s Black Entrepreneurs Day, billed as a celebration of Black business, will return on November 1st. The event will feature a number of celebrity guests such as Whoopi Goldberg and Shaquille O’Neal, as well as insights from top Black business leaders.
Eight winners of a $25,000 entrepreneurship grant will also receive the opportunity to perform alongside John during the event. The event will take place at the Apollo Theater in Manhattan and will also be livestreamed online.
This year marks the fourth year of the event, which was initially created in part to address the “frustration over injustice” following the killing of George Floyd in 2020. Black Entrepreneurs Day was created later that year to “celebrate” Black business owners as part of a focus. on systemic racism and economic inequality.
“I remember when Rodney King happened,” John told CNBC. “I didn’t go and burn down businesses – I built one.”
Early support is fading
Since 2020, Black Entrepreneurs Day has attracted well-known companies including JPMorgan Chase‘s Chase for Business and Shopify.
The event is entering its fourth year and enthusiasm from corporate sponsors is not as high as it was in 2020, following the Covid-19 pandemic and widespread Black Lives Matter protests calling for racial justice started, was brought into being.
“It was very easy [to get corporations on board] the first year,” John said. “I said, ‘Will you stand with me and say you’re on the right side of this discussion?'”
Many of the companies behind Black Entrepreneurs Day have launched initiatives to support the Black community. Assigned to Chase 30 billion dollars as part of a racial justice commitment in 2020, which has since been used for deployment 15,000 small business loansamong other initiatives.
John said companies need to continue to support Black businesses beyond a one-time commitment.
“If you don’t have people in your organization who look like those you serve, then every day you’re going to be looking for what’s shinier,” John said. “You may think that the systemic problems have been solved” by the donation you gave.
John praised brands like Chase, T-Mobile, The General Insurance and Shopify, which he said have stayed on the “right side” of the issue. He said the companies not only donate money, but also go the extra mile to invest in the Black community.
This year, Black Entrepreneurs Day will feature a star-studded guest list including Goldberg, O’Neal, Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Anderson and Rick Ross to discuss their journeys as Black entertainers and entrepreneurs.
“People want to know what they did at their lowest point and how they got out of the circumstances that many of us were in or are currently in,” John said.
Black Entrepreneurs Day will partner with the NAACP to donate $25,000 to eight entrepreneurs to be spent through the NAACP NAACP Powershift Entrepreneur Grant. Entrepreneurs who apply and win one of the eight scholarships can be mentored by John and accompany him during the broadcast of the event.
The grant receives tens of thousands of applications, even exceeding the number of entries submitted to “Shark Tank,” a globally recognized show, John told CNBC.
The Shopify Pitch Competition will return for Black Entrepreneurs Day this year. Current Shopify merchants have the opportunity to pitch live to three judges during the broadcast. Winners receive $25,000 and mentorship from John.
Black-owned businesses were hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, and as government support became available, Black entrepreneurs saw less of that money than their white counterparts.
“When the money was spent during the coronavirus crisis, a lot of Black farmers and African American businesses received a very small percentage of it and it took a lot longer for them to get it,” John said.
According to CNBC in 2020, Paycheck Protection Program loans largely failed to reach areas with the highest concentrations of Black-owned businesses.
Several businesses have thrived with the money and mentorship provided by the grant, John said, and some business owners are now able to continue their businesses thanks in part to the grant funds.
Program Note: John will appear on CNBC’s “Mad Money” on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET.