Dallas Cowboys star Jaylon Smith is looking forward to hosting the second annual Minority Entrepreneurship Institute (MEI) Showcase in Dallas on July 10th. Smith hopes to use the MEI Showcase to unite and galvanize the Dallas community that is still fighting against the COVID-19 global pandemic.
As many small businesses work to get back on their feet and restore their daily operations, Smith and his MEI team want to be a part of the solution. As a successful entrepreneur himself, Smith created the MEI as a way to help minority entrepreneurs gain access to capital and mentorship to grow their businesses. The MEI Showcase is offering over $200,000 in investment capital to companies that place in the competition. The first MEI Showcase was held in Smith’s hometown of Fort Wayne, IN, last year and Smith is looking forward to hosting this year’s MEI Showcase in the Cowboys community of Dallas, TX.
“I want to use my success as a pathway for thousands of other black and brown entrepreneurs to become successful. I call this my purpose beyond athletics,” says Smith. “The MEI has created a committee of industry experts to help guide and educate these entrepreneurs.
My advice for this year’s entrepreneurs pitching their business is to consider who their ideal customer is and understanding the ins and outs of the industry that they are entering. The best piece of advice I have ever received was from the late Eugene Parker, my former agent, who helped me understand the principle of value over cost.”
Smith and the MEI team are excited to announce the Sharks who will help judge this year’s Showcase will be 5x MLB All-Star Torii Hunter, Goldman Sachs Dallas office head Tom Dowling, and CEO and owner of Parrish Restaurants, LTD Roland Parrish. Each of these individuals has strong ties to the Dallas community and believes in creating opportunities for minorities. The Sharks will evaluate the business plans for each of the participating entrepreneurs and help to coach them up.
“It is vital that we empower our minority communities with mentorship, resources and funding,” says MEI Shark Roland Parrish. “My hope is that the entrepreneurs who apply and compete in this year’s MEI will capitalize on this opportunity, as we strive to create more for them in the future.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the local, national, and global economies, and Smith and his MEI team believe that resilient minority entrepreneurs are needed now more than ever to reboot the Dallas economy. According to a report from the University of Texas, West Dallas, south of the I-30, and east of the I-35 will be the areas that are most affected by the pandemic. These communities are home to a majority of Dallas’ black population, and Smith and the MEI Team are committed to ensuring that minority communities are supported during this challenging period.
Minority entrepreneurs throughout Texas should apply by June 1 to pitch their business plans to Smith and the Sharks. This once in a lifetime opportunity will provide entrepreneurs with access to capital, mentorship, and hope during these uncertain times.
The Minority Entrepreneurship Institute champions minority entrepreneurs because it believes the only solution to the economic divide in America is a marketplace that gives minority communities equal access to resources and opportunities. On July 10 in Dallas, TX, the MEI Showcase will help tell the untold stories of minority entrepreneurs who are demonstrating resilience, and of investors who are prepared to use capital to help jumpstart the economy.
For more information on how to invest, donate, or apply, please visit meicapitalfund.org. Applications are due by June 1.