Amanda E Johnson and LaToya Williams-Belfort to speak at Black Enterprise Summit

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Prostock-Studio)
© Getty Images \ (Prostock-Studio)

Related tags Entrepreneurship Black-owned event D&I

Tomorrow, Thursday May 6, the multimedia company is hosting a free online event for small businesses and aspiring founders. And the program includes both the COO of Mented Cosmetics and the Executive Director of the 15 Percent Pledge.

“The current push for economic equity, including significant pledges from corporate America to invest in and do business with Black-owned companies, represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Black entrepreneurs,” ​believes Earl ‘Butch’ Graves Jr., CEO of Black Enterprise.

“In order to close the racial wealth gap in America,” ​he says “we must be prepared to position ourselves to execute on those opportunities, even as we hold larger corporations accountable for living up to their commitment to doing more business with us.”

The inaugural Black Enterprise Small Business Summit highlights entrepreneurship and equity

Tomorrow’s online event is part of series, the Black Enterprise DEI Summits. The series kicked off in February with an event focused on corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. In March, the topic was physical, emotional, and mental health needs of Black communities. Last month the series looked at closing the racial wealth gap and building multigenerational wealth in Black communities.

And this month the 5 ½ hour event is all about small business and the work entrepreneurs are doing in the interest of economic equity.

According to this week’s press release from Black Enterprise, the Small Business Summit is “designed to energize an entrepreneurial movement emerging from the demand for equity triggered by the ‘twin pandemics’ of COVID-19 and racial injustice brought to the forefront of global awareness by the murder of George Floyd.”

The program includes presentations and discussion on topics like:

  • Winning Strategies for Black Women Entrepreneurs
  • How Your Business Can Profit from DEI
  • Welcome to the Clubhouse: Using Tech to Power Your Company’s Growth
  • Supplier Diversity, Designing Innovative Business Models to Serve Our Communities
  • Meeting Financing Needs
  • How Your Small Business Can Benefit from The Biden-Harris Rescue Plan
    (which is a talk between Isabella Casillas Guzman of the US Small Business Administration and Derek T Dingle of Black Enterprise)

Women effecting change in beauty industry to speak at Black Enterprise Summit

Amanda E Johnson, Co-Founder and COO of Mented Cosmetics​ is speaking tomorrow afternoon in a session called How Your Business Can Profit from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. (Learn more about the brand here on​.) This session in hosted by Wells Fargo and will also include David Miree of that financial services company and Steven S Rogers, author of the forthcoming book A Letter to My White Friends and Colleagues: What You Can Do Right Now To Help The Black Community​.   

LaToya Williams-Belfort, Executive Director of the 15 Percent Pledge, is also on the program tomorrow. Along with Raul Suarez-Rodriguez of Merk, Tarrus L Richardson of IMB Partners, and Alfred Edmond Jr of Black Enterprise, she’s speaking during the sessions called Supplier Diversity Update: Building Profitable Corporate Partnerships for the Long Haul.

Last summer Sephora stepped up as the first retailer to take the 15 Percent Pledge, committing to ensure that 15% or more of the products in the beauty specialty retailer’s mix are from Black-owned brands. The figure was chosen because, according to​, “Black people in the US make up nearly 15% of the population.”

To date, some 21 retailers have signed on to the 15 Percent Pledge including Macy’s and Bluemercury, Bloomingdales, and Vogue.

Learn more about the Black Enterprise Small Business Summit and find a link to register here​. 


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