Black billionaire Robert F. Smith to speak at ESSENCE entrepreneur virtual summit Friday

One of the most respected business mavens in the world is bringing his expertise to the first-ever ESSENCE Entrepreneur Virtual Summit, featuring the $100k New Voices + Target Accelerators Pitch Competition.

Click HERE to register and join us for information on how to access to capital, and other critical resources to sustain your business at the ESSENCE Entrepreneur Virtual Summit, featuring the New Voices + Target Accelerators Pitch Competition!

On Friday, April 24, revered businessman and avid philanthropist Robert F. Smith will join ESSENCE Ventures Founder and Chair Richelieu Dennis for what’s sure to be an unforgettable keynote conversation. Streaming live from the ESSENCE Studios platform, this meeting of the minds will hear both Dennis and Smith speak briefly about their own journeys to success in an enlightening exchange breaking down how more communities of color can start, continue or support the journey towards gaining financial independence, building generational wealth and achieving economic freedom. Specific topics will include how we can leverage successful black businesses to support our community, how to get funding to Black communities and how to leverage infrastructure to support black businesses.

In most recent memory for many is the extraordinary act of kindness heard around the world last spring that saw Smith pay off student loan debt for all 396 students in the 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College. The Denver, CO native and proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity is the Founder, Chairman & CEO of Vista Equity Partners. Founded in 2000, Vista currently manages equity capital commitments of over $52Bn and oversees a portfolio of over 60 software companies.

“We have long known about the systemic healthcare and economic inequities that are causing Black communities and businesses to fare worse than others during the COVID-19 global pandemic, but we also now see that we are in danger of losing critical progress as a community unless urgent and meaningful actions are taken,” said Dennis, also founder & chair of Essence Ventures, parent company of ESSENCE. “Black-owned businesses serve as economic engines in our communities across the nation, and entrepreneurship and ownership remain the most viable paths to bridging the abysmal wealth gap and creating generational wealth. Yet, as critical initial stimulus funding ran out without reaching many of those who need it most and with new funding not guaranteed to reach these same businesses, not enough is being done to help ensure their post-pandemic financial survival and the long-term health of our communities.”

Dennis continued, “The ESSENCE Benefit Series to Fight COVID-19 and each of its virtual summits are a direct response to this dire need. While ESSENCE has used its platform over the past 50 years to support entrepreneurs and provide commerce opportunities for Black-owned businesses, we have accelerated these efforts – particularly with investments in digital and technology innovation – since returning the brand to 100% Black ownership in 2018. Now, operating under our Community Commerce purpose-driven model of elevating communities by providing access and opportunities that lead to sustainable economic empowerment, this is how ESSENCE will continue to serve our community in this crisis and beyond. We’ve always been able to count on each other – and that is more important now than ever.”

In other words whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, established business owner or just someone ready to get serious about changing the narrative around wealth in your household and in your community for generations to come, this is one conversation you won’t want to miss.

For more information, to see the full lineup of speakers and to register for free now, visit the official ESSENCE Entrepreneur Summit website HERE.