Some of the most noticeable names on Wall Street will have a role in Black Entrepreneurs Day online event this Saturday.
Daymond John of “Shark Tank” fame, who said he was “frustrated” by the state of Black businesses in the face of the pandemic, said he leveraged his network in the business world to highlight and provide resources to Black enterprises at the global live-stream event.
“It shows that people want to make a difference,” John, the founder and CEO of hip-hop apparel company FUBU, told CNBC’s Jim Cramer in a “Mad Money” interview Tuesday.
The free event is sponsored by Chase for Business, the business services arm of JPMorgan Chase. Logistics giant UPS, investment app Robin Hood and PepsiCo are among the other businesses participating in the program on Oct. 24.
John, who has written bestselling books on business and entrepreneurship, will interview other Black celebrity business owners, such as former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, who joined the Papa John’s board last year, actress Gabrielle Union and BET co-founder Robert Johnson to gain insight into their challenges and successes.
“This is what this great country was founded upon. People who felt marginalized or felt discounted, and they felt that they needed to step up,” John said. “That’s what entrepreneurs do.”
Black business owners have historically faced financial barriers to growing their businesses, including lacking banking relationships to gain access to capital. The challenges that minority entrepreneurs are presented compounded during the economic decline sparked by the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.
Black-owned businesses fell by 41% and Latinx-owned enterprises declined by 32% between February and April, compared to a 17% decline in White-owned outfits, according to research from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The nonprofit Color of Change found in a joint report with Unidosus that just 12% of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs received help from the Paycheck Protection Program loan relief earlier that was designed to encourage business owners to keep workers on their payrolls during wide-spread lockdowns to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
Black Entrepreneurs Day, which will be carried on Facebook, LiveXLive and other online social platforms like YouTube and Twitter, will also award nine $225,000 grants to business owners as part of the “NAACP Powershift Entrepreneur Grant.”
“There really are a lot of people, such as you, who want to do the right thing, who want to step up, who want to bring attention to it,” John, speaking of disparities minority entrepreneurs face, said to Cramer. “I just have to start it, you know, within myself and say ‘how can I help people,’ and here we are.”