Shark Tank’s Daymond John Will ‘Pay It Forward’ With $175,000 for Black Entrepreneurs Day

Brands including Chase and Pepsi are on board for the event on Oct. 24

The upcoming event will give away $150,000 as part of the NAACP Powershift Entrepreneur Grant. Black Entrepreneurs Day presented by Chase for Business
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Entrepreneur Daymond John, who first made a name for himself as founder and CEO of lifestyle brand Fubu, is turning Oct. 24 into Black Entrepreneurs Day. The livestream event celebrates Black business and will award thousands of dollars to entrepreneurs.

“I want people to see there’s winners who only a week or two weeks prior did not have the $25,000 that they just got issued. And they were just like you and what they did was they applied and they got this money,” John told Adweek in an interview Monday. “People don’t see a lot of that type of stuff.”

The livestream will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch with Chase for Business as the title sponsor. It will simulcast on more than 20 additional platforms, including TikTok, Twitch, Twitter and YouTube.

Black Entrepreneurs Day seeks to provide entrepreneurial guidance and inspiration. In all, $175,000 will be awarded to seven Black entrepreneurs and small-business owners through the NAACP Powershift Entrepreneur Grant. Applications will be open from Oct. 6 to 12 on the Black Entrepreneurs Day website.

John said there’s a parallel to the ABC competition show Shark Tank on which he has starred as a judge for 11 seasons, but the grant recipients here won’t have to give up a stake of their companies in exchange for funding as they do on the TV show.

“They’re going to be able to use this money for this great new idea or to help them stay afloat or to get more inventory to their current business,” he said.

According to producer Joe Silberzweig, founder of live event firm Medium Rare, John will work with the NAACP to select these winners, who will appear throughout the broadcast.

The grants are funded by Chase, along with The General Insurance, Pepsi, Cisco Webex, Quickbooks and audio and video commenting tool Yappa, which John noted provides valuable connections for winners.

“They’re always going to be watching your business, too,” John added. “So you may have a bigger shot if you’re in financial tech. Chase is looking at [your business]. Or you’re into consumer packaged goods and Pepsi is checking you out.”

John is adding some star power though so-called Game Changer Conversations. From a custom-built studio in New York, he’ll interview Black business and cultural leaders including former NBA star—and current spokesman for The General—Shaquille O’Neal, as well as Gabrielle Union, Magic Johnson, Jamie Foxx, Robert Johnson and LL Cool J.

Additional participants will include Arlan Hamilton, managing partner of Backstage Capital; Brian Lamb, global head of diversity and inclusion at JPMorgan Chase; and Elicia Azali, chief revenue officer of The General. Interviewees will join remotely via Webex.

Black Entrepreneurs Day will also showcase performances by Chance the Rapper and Questlove and conclude with an after-party with O’Neal as DJ Diesel in a set sponsored by Pepsi.

“Black Entrepreneurs Day is a celebration and education about Black entrepreneurs that are well-known and Black entrepreneurs that are maybe not as well-known,” John said. “I came up with this concept along with my team that, right now, with all this going on, need this information on how do you go out there and start a business and sustain a business and scale a business.”

In addition, John noted many brands want to support “what they think are things that are going to create long-term change and empower people because they do want to get behind a good thing.”


@lisalacy lisa.lacy@adweek.com Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.
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