Over the last two years the Jaylon Smith Minority Entrepreneurship Institute (MEI) has invested $800,000 in minority-owned businesses to help close the economic gap for people of color.
Now the MEI is activating educational resources to accelerate the development of minority enterprises and inspire black and brown entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams.
The inaugural MEI Summit, a free virtual event, will broadcast on Nov. 11-12 and feature prominent business executives, including Managing Partner of Collab Capital and Head of Google for Startups in the US Jewel Burks Solomon, TxO Partner at Andreessen Horowitz Naithan Jones, Senior Vice President, Head of Diverse Markets Strategy at AllianceBernstein James Seth Thompson, and Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer for the Dallas Cowboys Charlotte Jones, a news release said.
The MEI Summit is intended to equip minority entrepreneurs, regardless of their background or experience, with the skills they need to build and grow their business.
It covers core competencies like sales and marketing, finance, and business operations alongside candid conversations with successful business owners about the challenges and perspectives that come with being a minority entrepreneur.
The MEI Summit also features inspiring stories of those who have escaped high poverty neighborhoods by becoming entrepreneurs, such as Smith, and who are now uplifting those communities with their success.
“I found that the minority community not only lacks access to basic things like affordable bank loans, but also the business experience to really know how to run a company,” Smith said in the news release.
“The MEI has created a committee of industry experts to help guide and educate these entrepreneurs. The Summit is huge in helping them understand how to build the right infrastructure and take their businesses to the next level,” he said.
Earlier this year, the MEI held the second annual MEI Showcase, a pitch competition for minority entrepreneurs, at the Dallas Cowboys headquarters in Frisco.
More than 140 minority business owners applied for the competition. Five were selected to present their businesses in front of Smith and a panel of celebrity judges.
Zirtue, a relationship-based social lending app, took first place in the competition. Three of the companies – Zirtue, Kanarys, and ShearShare – went on to be selected for Google for Startups Black Founders Fund.
The MEI Summit is supported by many dedicated companies and individuals who believe in closing the wealth gap for minorities, including Corporate Partner Reliant, the announcement said.
“Reliant is committed to Powering Change and that is why we support organizations like the Jaylon Smith Minority Entrepreneurship Institute. This group is making a real difference by empowering minority entrepreneurs with the resources and funding needed to innovate, create and realize success,” said Elizabeth Killinger, president, Reliant.
Other partners for the MEI Summit include Globe Life, Ruoff Mortgage, and Sweetwater.
The MEI Summit will be broadcast on Nov. 11 and 12, 6-7:20 p.m. EST (5-6:20 p.m. CST).
The MEI is supported by RISE Sports Advisors and the Sagamore Institute
Those interested in attending the MEI Summit are encouraged to reserve their spot at https://www.meisummit.com