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This time last year, many businesses were forced to close their doors, but Black Twitter saw opportunities to open new ones. A viral post that was shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter read: “Take $150 from your stimulus and buy a LLC. Now that you’re a business owner, apply for a PPP grant. Now you have 5k and a small business. Do something you love and thank me later.”
While this advice may have led some people to unintentionally or intentionally engage in fraud, there were some aspiring entrepreneurs who actually used it as an opportunity to finally take their first step toward business ownership. But now what?
In the latest episode of our explainer series Cleared Up, host Tatianna Mott and founder of the iconic FUBU clothing line Daymond John offer up some more in-depth advice about what it takes to start a business.
“I founded Black Entrepreneurs Day last year in the middle of all the craziness,” shares John, reflecting on the unrest and destruction of several local businesses following the May 2020 public slaying of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. “I realized that a lot of young adults– or even adults –should not be out there burning businesses, they should be building them because this is a great time and there’s a lot of opportunity out there.”
Black Entrepreneurs Day is a free global live stream that aims to provide guidance and inspiration to the next generation of rising entrepreneurs, and John has partnered with Chase for Business to bring it back this year on Oct. 14, beginning at 7 P.M. EST and streaming live on Facebook from the legendary Apollo Theater in New York.
The event will include Game Changer Conversations presented by The General, featuring Shaquille O’Neal, Tyra Banks, Michael Strahan, Marcus Samuelsson, Rev. Run, and Janice Bryant Howroyd, plus a live musical performance by Khalid.
Now through Sept. 28, Black entrepreneurs and small business owners across the country can apply for a $25,000 NAACP Powershift grant to be awarded as part of Black Entrepreneurs Day. But, just as merely registering for an LLC and applying for a loan is not enough to run a successful business, John warns against relying on large grants and loans to catapult a brand new business.
“One of the top reasons why small businesses initially fail is actually over funding,” John suggests. “People think that money can solve the problem and often money can highlight your weaknesses…It’s really understanding your paperwork, understanding your customer, understanding your product and making all those mistakes small. Then when you have money, it will help you. Money is supposed to only fuel something you already have.”
Those who view the telecast will be able to connect with the entrepreneurs by submitting questions through the Black Entrepreneurs Day website via Yappa. John will answer the questions live.
“What’s encouraging is that funding for US-based Black entrepreneurs is way ahead of where it was last year –nearly four times in fact,” Yappa co-founder Jennifer Dyer shares with theGrio.
“Yet investments to Black-founded start-ups compared to overall venture funding is still just a very small fraction. The growth there is trending upwards, but we understand from personal experience that the hurdles go beyond getting in the room to pitch,” Dyer said. “This is exactly why we are proud to be a part of Black Entrepreneurs Day again this year. This event provides a platform to have these conversations, share valuable anecdotes and resources for small business and entrepreneurs as they seek their own successes.”
Check out Episode 4 of Cleared Up now for more information on what it takes to start a successful business, and visit Black Entrepreneurs Day to register for the Oct. 14 live stream and/or apply for a $25,000 NAACP Powershift grant.
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