Event Recap

Global Diversity and Investment Summit (Recap)

NorCal SBDC’s Inclusivity Project Celebrates the Success of the second Global Diversity and Investment Summit

The NorCal SBDC Inclusivity Project proudly hosted the second virtual Global Diversity and Investment Summit on Friday, October 22nd. Friday’s event featured a series of panel discussions led by top-talent business and financial experts, who covered a variety of topics from alternative capital resources to crowdfunding, and shared insightful strategies for entrepreneurs of color on how to start, scale, and sustain their venture in today’s ever-changing marketplace.

View the full event recording: 

Opening Remarks

The event also featured a special guest appearance from Tara Lynn Gray, Director of California’s Office of Small Business Advocacy at the Governor’s office, who helped kick off the event with opening remarks: “We appreciate the opportunity to support the premiere ecosystem for entrepreneurs, and especially for entrepreneurs of color that we are focused on celebrating today, within the Inclusivity Project”, Lynn Gray shared,

I’m reminded of how important it is for projects like this [Inclusivity Project] to help the state meet goals and reach small businesses to create a California for All.”

Tara Lynn gray, Director of California’s Office of Small Business Advocacy at Gobiz


Keynote speaker and crowdfunding guru, Mark Hiraide shared about the importance of having a team of support and insights about the budding opportunities in crowdfunding as well as recent developments in crowdfunding allowing investors to seek up to $5 million dollars investment. Hiraide outlined the process of researching crowdfunding platforms, preparing documents for seeking investment, and different options for providing securities and stock to investors such as revenue shares.  

“Accessing capital through equity crowdfunding has become a very acceptable and highly recognized way to raise money.” Mr. Hiraide explained,

“With very little money up front, you can access the crowd… By and large, however, the most successful crowdfunding campaigns are those businesses that have already engaged their investors with some sort of relationship — either through social media or through the beta version of the product, etc. Those who have already generated some type of interest in the product [or the service].”

Mark Hiraide, Crowdfunding expert

Panel Discussions

Panel discussions were led by an all-star team of business experts including Mariah Lichtenstern, Founder & Managing Partner of DiverseCity Ventures, Dr. Faz K Bashi, MD, Co-founder and President, Anubis Bio/DoggyStat, Renee King, Serial Entrepreneur, and Founder, FundBlackFounders, Alfredo Matthew III, Co-Founder and Partner, ESO Ventures Inc., and Benjamin Wanzo, Partner, ESO Ventures Inc

Panelists discussed the importance of understanding your customer and building your network. Additionally, they shared ideas on how to boost Black entrepreneurship, how to help Black entrepreneurs access capital to start, test, build and grow their businesses, as well as how technical assistance providers like the Small Business Development Centers, who provide services at no-cost, can work alongside businesses throughout each step of their business journey.

Conversations highlighted a variety of resources available to entrepreneurs including online alternative lending resources, technical assistance providers, and how critically important a small community of family and friends, and peers are to be supported in their endeavor.

Pitch Competition

Saving the best part for last — The last 30 minutes of the event featured a pitch competition, made possible by the hard work of a small group of bright, aspiring entrepreneurs. In total, five different entrepreneurs pitched their ideas within 3 minutes to the panelist who served as judges for the competition. This event’s pitch competition winner was Delia Lovell with Endara Enterprises. Endara will go on to compete in a cash-prize round for the next summit event in February 2022.

Special thanks

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our speakers, panelists, pitch contestants, and most importantly all of the attendees for a memorable event. This Inclusivity Project community is taking this moment in time to start a movement for the history books!

Chris horton, initiative director of the INCLUSIVITY PROJECT

Don’t miss the next event!

Interested in attending the next summit? Led by Initiative Director, Chris Horton, the Inclusivity Project’s Global Diversity and Investment Summit is a quarterly event tailored to BIPOC entrepreneurs who are ready to level up their business with additional capital resources or might be looking for assistance in outlining their first business plan. The event is free and provides attendees inspiration to take the next step towards realizing their dream of entrepreneurship.

Sign up for updates from NorCal SBDC’s Inclusivity Project to stay in the know about upcoming events and networking opportunities.

Interested in supporting our next event?

Contact Chris Horton, Initiative Director for the Inclusivity Project to learn about opportunities for future event and program sponsorship. Chris@TheInclusivityProject.com

About the California SBDC’s Inclusivity Project:

The Inclusivity Project is a program of the California Small Business Development Centers — dedicated to supporting California’s Black entrepreneurs and businesses by leveraging a network of experienced small business owners, experts, and strategic support in order to create meaningful community and mentorship over the lifetime of each IP member business.

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