Daymond John to announce $25,000 grant recipients at Black Entrepreneurs Day

The event will be held virtually this year due to the pandemic

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Daymond John, entrepreneur and investor on ABC’s Shark Tank, will be hosting Black Entrepreneurs Day on Saturday. The event, aimed at celebrating and supporting Black entrepreneurs, will be held virtually this year due to the pandemic and 10 businesses will receive a $25,000 grant – no strings attached.

John conceived of the event after seeing the tumult in the Black business community when COVID-19 hit. He says he was tired of “seeing so many people who were burning down businesses, who should be building businesses.”

“Unless you can give them the education and the information they need, then how are they going to be able to improve themselves,” John continued.

The event will feature conversations with Shaquille O’Neal, Gabrielle Union, Robert Johnson and more, and feature performances from Chance The Rapper and Questlove. 

Read More: Black businesses get fewer loan opportunities, study shows

“They’re people that have been in the industry through a lot of ups and downs and changes over the last years,” John said about the speakers he chose for the event. “They are people that will be blatantly honest about their failures, what they’ve learned and how they’ve rebounded from that, and what they’re currently doing today.”

Along with conversations and performances, the event will have a grant distribution portion. The ten $25,000 grants will come down to how the groups present and pitch their businesses, John says. 

“I never know what’s going to hit or not. The most successful product in Shark Tank history is socks.” He has to make decisions based on his impressions of people’s presentation and preparation.

Over 10,000 businesses across multiple industries applied for grants earlier this year. A panel consisting of John, representatives from sponsoring companies and colleagues will decide who will receive a grant.

“They might want to add more value to it in other ways – maybe they’ll mentor,” John said when asked about why sponsors were helping to decide the grant winners.

The main communications platform for the event is Yappa. 

“Viewers from around the world can submit questions exclusively via Yappa that Daymond will answer live during the event,” a press release stated.

Founded by Jennifer Dyer and Kiaran Sim in 2015, the app is designed to bring empathy to the forefront of conversation and hopefully create a world in which respectful discourse is the norm.

“Yappa is designed as an antidote to the anonymous environment that text-based comments have created on the internet,” said a company statement.

Read More: Beyonce and NAACP partner to give grants to Black-owned small businesses

In addition to Yappa, many major companies reached out and requested to join the cause. Chase for Business was the main partner from the beginning, but The General Insurance, Pepsi, Cisco Webex, Quickbooks and Robinhood, all chipped in to make the event and grants possible.

As theGrio previously reported, the free, worldwide live stream will air on Saturday, Oct. 24, beginning at 7 p.m., on John’s Facebook page and a host of other social media and web channels, including LiveXLive, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok and Twitter.

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