The Yale School of Management‘s Black Business Alliance hosted the inaugural Black Venture Summit on Friday, providing support and funding to promising ventures while aiming to promote a pipeline for successful Black entrepreneurs.
The event came to fruition through a significant partnership between the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, CTNext, and the Black Business Alliance. Organizers believe that creating relationships between successful Black entrepreneurs, investors, and business professionals is a necessary step towards democratizing the venture capital process and ensuring Black communities attain the necessary funding and resources to solve their own problems.
At the Black Venture Summit, the primary aim was to offer support to underrepresented minorities’ businesses, and more specifically, to Black entrepreneurs. The group of participants presented ventures that tackled issues that disproportionately affect Black communities in areas such as healthcare, education, and social justice. The Summit provided $20,000 in funding to support these ventures whose work aligns with the organizers’ vision to improve Black communities’ economic situation.
The Black Venture Summit presents a much-needed form of support for Black entrepreneurs who have long struggled to obtain funding for their projects. This is a systemic issue that dates back to the Jim Crow era, where many structural obstacles hindered Black individuals’ ability to create and grow businesses.
For instance, While the Small Business Administration (SBA) was created to offer federal funding to small businesses, Black entrepreneurs were disproportionately denied funding, citing ineligibility or rejecting their applications altogether. Without adequate funding or support, Black entrepreneurs have faced numerous challenges to establish and sustain their own businesses, leading to a significant lack of diversity within the entrepreneurial landscape.
To bridge the funding gap created by structural racism, events such as the Black Venture Summit are necessary to bring attention to the viable ideas and industries that need backing. At the event, Black entrepreneurs received much-needed exposure to venture capitalists and potential investors, allowing them to make important connections and secure the resources they require to fund their projects.
Mea-Lynn Wong and Julian Love, students of Yale School of Management, and Onyeka Obiocha and Tobi Shitta-Bey, who hold degrees from Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Management, respectively, were instrumental in organizing the first-ever Black Venture Summit. These young leaders acted as a catalyst to bring together the various stakeholders involved and ensured the event pan out as a success, stimulating community building and promoting diversity in the entrepreneur space.
Given this year’s edition’s success, it is evident that the Black Venture Summit will become an excellent platform for essential conversations around issues affecting Black communities. The Summit ensures that Black entrepreneurs’ voices and aspirations are heard and enables them to thrive in the entrepreneurial world. Undoubtedly, this is an essential step towards more increased change by offering and democratizing access to necessary resources for promising and impactful ventures.