African Diaspora Network is committed to bringing together our global community to uplift the continent of Africa and the communities in which we live. We are delighted to host the June Impact & Innovation Forum on the exponential potential of Black business patronage and investment opportunities.
This historic year is marked by an ongoing global health crisis that has devastated nations worldwide and laid bare long-standing social and economic injustices. In the United States alone, COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted African-Americans, with (92.3 deaths per 100,000 population compared to 42.5 for whites, according to CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html). The effects of the pandemic have only worsened conditions: Black individuals are overrepresented on frontline and essential worker roles, leaving them vulnerable to the virus as well as shifting economic conditions. Social movements led by the Black community across the United States are demanding justice in the face of police brutality, compounded by racism, economic inequities, and social injustices built over the last 400 years.
In this watershed moment, we have the opportunity to highlight Black resilience and excellence. African-American communities have been pioneers in starting their own businesses. They have a vision of creating generational wealth for their families by building thriving businesses and banks. Black communities are integral to American entrepreneurial culture, and throughout history, have built enterprises from the ground up and pool resources to build. From J.B. Stradford, the largest Black-owned luxury hotel of its time, to the first female self-made millionaire Madam C.J. Walker, to Oprah Winfrey, an American media executive and philanthropist. We recognize the achievements of Black Entrepreneurship that paved the way for African and other immigrants.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the United States is home to about 2.5 million Black-owned businesses. Black Americans command $1.3 trillion in annual buying power. However, lack of access to capital and the need for a strong, supportive business network have created a gap in investment and profits, particularly in Silicon Valley. A report by Rate My Investor revealed that between 2013 and 2017, 77% of venture-backed founders were white, whereas only 1% of venture-backed founders were black. In this pivotal period of systemic change, how do we, the Black and non-Black community, intentionally patronage and support Black businesses so that they can thrive?
This session seeks to explore ways of addressing the fundamental disparities among the African-American and African communities, with a focus on investment capital, employment, and entrepreneurship, in pursuit of social and economic justice. Join us as we envision opportunities to expand the entrepreneurial ecosystem to enable targeted and intentional investments for Black-owned neighborhood businesses.
Innocent Shumba, Partner, Ernst & Young, San Jose
ADN Board Member Innocent Shumba is a member of EY’s Assurance practice and has diverse accounting and auditing experience. He is involved in several organizations, including the EY Black Professional Network, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Certified Fraud Examiners, Institute of Internal Auditors and the National Association of Black Accountants.
Hugh Molotsi, Investor, Founder & CEO, Ujama
Hugh Molotsi is the founder and CEO of Ujama, a mobile platform where parents team up to share rides, playdates, and babysitting. Hugh also advises and invests in startups and is the co-author of The Intrapreneur’s Journey, a book on how to develop a culture of innovation at large companies. In 2015, Hugh concluded a 22-year career at Intuit where his last position was Engineering Fellow and Vice President of Innovation. During his Intuit tenure, Hugh worked on QuickBooks and several other small business offerings. Hugh has been a serial innovator and helped launch several new businesses at Intuit including Intuit Payments.
Jacqueline Bouvier Copeland, PhD, Founder, Black Philanthropy Month, Founder and CEO, The WISE Fund
A seasoned global social and environmental impact leader and scholar, Dr. Copeland is the Founder of Black Philanthropy Month and Founder & CEO of The WISE Fund. An expert on cultural and ecosystem diversity issues, she is recognized as a HistoryMaker for her innovative civic contributions. Trained as an anthropologist and urban designer, she creates impact strategies, movements, organizations, programs, technologies, funding, and systems for companies, foundations, nonprofits and governments operating in the US, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Danny J. Allen, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships Global Diversity & Inclusion Office, SAP
A seasoned technologist and serial entrepreneur, Danny turned a passion for change into an assignment at SAP in Tech Diversity; dedicated to finding a self- sustaining method for ethnic inclusion via the natural complement to corporate profitability. He leads the Inclusive Culture workstream and Triple Double. He works in partnership and collaboration with SAP ecosystem partners, customers and schools in three areas: sustainable talent pipeline alignment with the needs of industry; tech industry collaboration and embrace of difference for maximizing profitability; and inclusive entrepreneurship and equitable supplier diversity.
Sanna Gaspard, PhD, CEO & Founder, AAAS-LEMELSON Invention Ambassador, Business Consultant
Sanna Gaspard has a passion for entrepreneurship, healthcare, medical devices, and innovation. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering (BME) at the University of Miami in Miami, FL (‘04). She completed her Masters (’05) and PhD (’11) in BME at Carnegie Mellon University. While earning her graduate degree she received two patents for two medical technologies she invented. Her two inventions include an infant therapy device to support preterm infants’ health and an optical device for early bedsore detection. To support the commercialization of these two technologies she founded two medical device companies, TLneoCare, LLC and Rubitection Inc. As CEO of both startups she developed the vision, business strategy and plan, the IP strategy, and raised initial financing.