“Shark Tank” investor Daymond John creates better opportunities for others with Black Entrepreneur Day

Many may know him best as one of the savvy “sharks” with more than a friendly bite on the hit reality series. shark tankbut long-time business magnate and entrepreneur John Daymond not only continues to consider the product presentations placed before it today, but it also dives deep to provide better opportunities for black entrepreneurs.

On October 27, Daymond will again lead what is now the third edition “Black Entrepreneur Day” presented by Chase, which will be filmed for live broadcast from the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Being born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, I decided to start my conversation with Daymond by asking him what it means to host an event like this in the New York area where he first strived to make a name for itself in the business years. from.

Daymond replies: “I would say it’s probably one of the most famous theaters in the world and I tell the story of the early 90s, I sold hats in front and then I made enough money. money to be able to attend events in 2000 and now I’m able to book it and give hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to black businesses to stay open and/or expand their businesses and be able to interview some of the world’s most famous people to talk about not just their successes, but exactly how they got there in all of their failures so other people like them can tell Wait a minute, I can do that too! So I think the circle is complete. I think it’s a win/win. I think it’s the American dream, not a black person’s dream – it’s the American dream to do this. I have the backing of a lot of big, big companies who believe in what we do and people like you who are going to put a megaphone on this.

Launched in 2020, Daymond originally created “Black Entrepreneur Day” following the events following the death of George Floyd and him wanting to help his community by spotlighting this global streaming show.

“During George Floyd, we were all frustrated and upset, and then we saw things happen that we just didn’t know were happening,” Daymond continues. “We thought it was going to go in another direction, where the leadership would address some of these issues in a more empowering way, but that didn’t happen. I thought to myself, like many of us, Who will help? Many of us helped out in any way we could, no matter what, joining hands of all colors to walk together, supporting different businesses, or letting our leaders know what was wrong. not. I did what was at my disposal, which is to call an incredible number of people who we look at every day and understand from them what they have been through and how these people who are suffering and need information, how can we help them? Then call out a bunch of organizations and brands that wanted to be on the right side of the fight and wanted to empower people and it just started to grow and blossom and I think that’s the beauty of it.

Some of these well-known black entrepreneurs joining Daymond for this year’s “Black Entrepreneur Day” include Spike Lee, Tracee Ellis Ross, Venus Williams, mike the killer, Tiki Barber and Shaquille O’Neal. With such a large list of leaders from a wide variety of industries joining Daymond’s continued mission today, I wondered what it means for Daymond to have these remarkable people join and support its cause. .

“You can’t replace your time and the people I’ve been fortunate enough to work with are committed to wanting to be a little vulnerable and to tell their stories because they know it’s essential. I’m sure most of their stories have come from watching someone who came before them and shared their story, so people like Spike Lee who changed the narrative of a lot of our conversations around the dinner table from he 30 years ago with her cinematography and her ability to tell stories Venus Williams, she’s been in the public spotlight and she’s had everything from health issues to every other challenge we might have, but that’s always someone who broke so many boundaries. Listen, I can go on and on. When you get out of the neighborhood and they’ve turned into great business people, we can learn from each of them.”

With this year marking the 30th anniversary of Daymond founding success FUBU clothing company, as well as his dedication as the founder of The group of sharks agency, I wondered how he would describe his own professional journey, from his early days as an entrepreneur to the sacrifices he had to make to fill the leadership positions he finds himself in today.

“Every entrepreneur sacrifices everything,” says Daymond. “They feel like they’re solving a problem they thought someone else was going to solve and they’re serving their consumers and they constantly want to do their best. I think the best part of my journey is that a lot of people don’t know it, a black entrepreneur, any entrepreneur, it’s a team sport and I was and am supported by people of all colors. The best thing I love about this country is that we have more in common than we have separately. When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s a team sport and you realize there’s no color or gender or creed or sexual preference – it comes with people wanting to do what they do. need to and empower people. That’s why we’re here and that’s why Black Entrepreneur Day is so amazing. »

With Daymond continuing to be one of the “Shark” investors on shark tank these 14 seasons, where he often considers the pitches of entrepreneurs from all walks of life and decides whether or not he wants to invest in their promising product, I wondered how Daymond could express his interest in these pitched products and the human stories behind them have been evolving for him, since he started the series in its first season in 2009.

Daymond reveals: “Oh man, I learned the most from shark tank, whether it’s my fellow “sharks” or the people standing on this mat. There are real commonalities that they use what I call “bankruptcy power”. They started with zero and they use ‘OPM’ – the power of the mind, the workforce, the manufacturing, the mentors of others. They learn, they repeat. They take small steps forward, then they learn from them and they repeat even more wisely. They are always after mentors and they are always educating themselves. The business world has changed. Think about it – 14 years ago, Instagram didn’t exist. Shopify didn’t exist, right? So, I couldn’t have that much conversion on social media. I couldn’t have a great platform with high bandwidth that two million people can hit at the same time and I’m still in business so we’re constantly learning as entrepreneurs and I’m learning with them.

After telling Daymond how much my whole family not only appreciated shark tank over the years, but we’ve also taken constructive insights from the show’s many professional conversations, Daymond added, “I think that’s why you and your family watch it. You look at people who are regular people, like all of us, and they just decided Today I’m going to be a little different. I will take a step forward. Then you also look at some people who don’t understand. They’ve seen it all these years and they’re asking for a million dollars for 5% [stake in the company] and their numbers aren’t right and unfortunately we have to hammer them in, but I think that’s the beauty of shark tank – you see everything.

After choosing to work with so many diverse entrepreneurs over the years, I asked Daymond what he would say is the biggest benefit of being an entrepreneur today and what are the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face in our modern business world.

“The biggest advantage of being an entrepreneur today in this world, unlike in the past, is that you can immediately see who affects you positively. When I started, the internet didn’t exist. That’s the best part of today and that is why, returning to ‘Black Entrepreneurs [Day]’, you can see the effect immediately when you see these people get these grants, put this money to work, or learn from so many people on stage. What’s great is that you can open a business here (points to his phone). The challenge is that anyone can do it! Now that everyone can do it, the fundamentals of business, you still have to get up before everyone else and go to bed after everyone else. You thank everyone for your success and you blame one person for your failure and there is too much information in the world.

As I began to wrap up my conversation with Daymond, I asked him one final question: What is one thing you would say to all entrepreneurs today that would hopefully stick with them?

“Learn finance and how finance works because there is a great saying that Money is a great slave but a horrible master and we usually get or fail in our business when we just look at the numbers and don’t think we’re solving or bringing joy to people. The biggest mistakes I made in business was when I was actually well equipped with money. I made bigger mistakes for no reason because I thought money was going to fix the problem, when money often highlights your weakness. Money is a great slave but a terrible master.