article by Carolyn M. Brown via blackenterprise.com
Now in its 7th season, ABC’s Shark Tank has empowered entrepreneurs to strike deals worth over $70 million.
Since the beginning, black entrepreneurs have shined. Mr. Tod’s Pie Factory struck a deal with Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John on episode 1 with a near $1M valuation.
In Season 7, entrepreneurs like Sarah Ribner of Piper Wai, and Ben Young and Gregory Coleman of Nexercise, continue to inspire on Friday nights. Nexercise’s $18.7M valuation is the largest to date on Shark Tank.
Joshua DuBois and Brandon Andrews of Values Partnerships are working to ensure the voices pitching on ABC’s Shark Tank reflect the diversity of audiences watching. With the support of producer Mark Burnett, Values Partnerships – a Washington, D.C., based firm engaging faith-based and diverse communities worldwide – leads a nationwide casting tour focused on bringing more diverse ideas and voices to the show, and supporting entrepreneurship nationwide.
“ABC’s Shark Tank and its producer Mark Burnett are committed to supporting entrepreneurs from every community in the nation. The power of seeing someone who looks like you successfully pitch a business on the show cannot be understated,” says DuBois.
In 2015, Values Partnerships held 11 casting events in 6 cities. Several entrepreneurs, including Sprëtz and Piper Wai pitched at Values Partnerships events and were selected for Season 7 of Shark Tank. The 2016 tour kicks off this week in Miami (March 4).
Events are planned in other cities, including Austin, Texas; NYC; Washington, D.C; Detroit, Michigan; New Orleans, Louisiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; and San Francisco/Oakland.