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Business as a Platform for Change

Salesforce Black Business Month Block Party Explores Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, and Building Black Wealth

Salesforce recently hosted its first-ever National Black Business Month Block Party Summit, presented by Black Enterprise and Deloitte Digital. The event celebrated Black entrepreneurship across all industries while also creating space to address the state of economic empowerment in the Black community. 

Before 1.2 million online viewers, Black founders, business leaders, investors, and creatives met on the virtual stage to share their entrepreneurial journeys and commitment to building Black wealth in the ever-evolving, digital-first landscape. 

The summit featured speakers such as Emmy-nominated actress Yvonne Orji and two-time NBA All-Star, founder, filmmaker, and investor Baron Davis. Through panel discussions, a #BossTalks segment with Salesforce Foundation CEO and Chief Philanthropy Officer Ebony Beckwith, and special performances, the block party explored how Black entrepreneurs are reclaiming wealth and leading new innovations in the wake of the pandemic.

Here’s a recap of the event.

Block Party Summit speakers from left to right: Yvonne Orji, Emmy nominated actress on the HBO Series “Insecure” and Author, Comedian and Entrepreneur; Baron Davis, athlete, entrepreneur, filmmaker and investor, Wale, Grammy-nominated artist, rapper and poet, Ayris T. Scales; CEO of Walker’s Legacy Foundation;, Lynae Vanee, poet, content creator and actress; and Ryan Wilson, Founder of The Gathering Spot

“I’ma keep it Black, but I’ma keep it brief”

The program began with a spoken word performance by poet and storyteller, Lynae Vanee. In her poem, Vanee offered historical context on the racial wealth gap, early Black entrepreneurship, and the urgency to support Black-owned businesses in the current climate. 

She encouraged the audience to adopt a renewed perspective of Black-owned businesses — noting that increased access to capital, trainings, and apprenticeships are essential to the continued growth of Black-owned businesses.

The Business of Black Culture

Next, Dr. Kari Williams, Doctor of Trichology, Creator of Goddess Locs and Entrepreneur, and Ryan Wilson, co-founder of The Gathering Spot highlighted culture as a platform to drive innovation and wealth in the Black community. 

While Black culture has been a driving force behind many of society’s wealthiest businesses, Black people have been traditionally excluded from this wealth. These panelists examined ways in which technology and the power of collaboration can be leveraged to support Black people in reclaiming and capitalizing on culture, communities, and the creativity that propels the community.

Tech and Black Business

An interactive conversation with two-time NBA All-Star Baron Davis, and Shop Circulate CEO Khadijah Robinson, explored the many ways Black professionals can leverage passion, networks, and innovation to establish, launch, scale, and expand their businesses. 

Both Davis and Robinson shared their personal experiences from early start-up days to their most recent ventures, including Davis’ latest assignment as co-host to Small Business Revolution Season 6, co-sponsored by Salesforce. From tech platforms to the creative ways to use them — this panel explored how to effectively bridge the gap between tech and Black entrepreneurs.

Crisis to Creation: Pandemic-Driven Business Innovations

The event panel series concluded with a dynamic group of panelists including Walker’s Legacy Founder CEO Ayris T. Scales, CRMified Founder and Salesforce MVP and Partner Joshua Hoskins, and Media Maven CEO Karen Civil. 

Everyone knows that this past year has presented entrepreneurs and business owners with, especially difficult challenges. However, with those challenging circumstances came opportunities for reinvention and innovation. This panel explored the various ways in which entrepreneurs can turn unique and unprecedented setbacks into unique and unprecedented successes. From navigating the pandemic to pursuing a passion — these lessons on how to navigate the unexpected left attendees inspired.

Watch all of the panel conversations on demand here.