Black Entrepreneurs Day returned to New York City owns Apollo Theater for its fourth year, on Oct. 21 2023. Curated by Shark Tank’s own Daymond John.
The event was centered on inspiration for Black business owners, assisted with resources, education and grant opportunities by organizations like NAACP and Black Operation Hope.
Mayor Eric Adams kicked off the event with a surprise visit. The mayor sang John’s praises calling him “The people’s shark,” and proclaimed Oct. 21 Black Entrepreneurs Day in NYC. It was a moment for the two Queens borough natives.
The Apollo known for its competitive stage and “Good Luck Stump” was perfect for the Shopify Pitch Competition where entrepreneurs had the opportunity to present their product to comedians and business owners Anthony Anderson and Cedric the Entertainer for a shot at $25,000 to scale their businesses. SIP Prebiotic Herbal Tea, Ella and Iris Home Scents had the chance to shoot their shot. Dr. Cory Amos, the creator of Spice Theory–Blended Spices took home the prize.
Game-changing conversations were integral to the program and were a source of inspiration for event-goers. Emmy, Oscar and Tony award-winner Whoopi Goldberg was in the building and recognized Richard Pryor as one of her mentors during her conversation with John. The View host encouraged attendees to place learning to be at the forefront of their initiatives.
“What doesn’t challenge you makes you lazy,” Whoopi said.
Cedric the Entertainer and Anthony Anderson who introduced their product, AC BBQ Sauce. Cedric and Anthony conversed on building their brand and seeking assistance from Daymond John early on and now having product in Walmart and in Loews.
“We are rooted in culture and fueled by community,” Anderson said before sharing the news that AC BBQ sauce will be in HBCU Kitchens across the country, beginning at Jackson State University in partnership with Magic Johnson.
Anderson’s advice to entrepreneurs was simply “Don’t take shortcuts.”
Insightful conversations followed with ESPN anchor Cari Champion, rapper-turned actor Ice-T and pioneering rapper Flava Flav of Public Enemy and Flava of Love who all dropped gems.
Champion reminded the audience that:
“Discipline is the key to freedom, stay focused, know your worth,”
Ice-T told attendees to “Have the courage to be yourself don’t allow others to dictate to you, entrepreneur is just another word for hustler.”
Flava Flav kept it consistent with his messaging:
”Stay awake,” Flav said.
“You have to know what time it is.”
Flava kept it so real after he introduced Rick Ross, he remained on stage throughout the performance as his hype man.
John closed the night with mention that JP Morgan Chase intends pour $30 billion into African American communities.
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Contributed by Rana Epps
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