The power of ideas at the first annual Afropreneurship celebration

team photo

Students and young alumni from across the campus and community shared how being entrepreneurs has helped them knock down personal and professional goals. Last week’s Afropreneurship celebration, part of Black History Month, was curated by LaunchPad entrepreneurs Kelsey Davis, founder of CLLCTVE and Victoria Lawson, founder of Weird and Woke Design, and sponsored by the LaunchPad. Moderator Sharif King ’20 guided panelists that included Syracuse University alumni — including award winning marketing executive Indaria Jones, Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens, and Mylz Blake, founder of Black Cub Productions — through a dialogue about what Afropreneurs need to succeed. The thoughtful and positive conversation looked at Black achievement models, family stories, and inspirational advice for achieving Black excellence. The panelists explored how generations have defined success, how it is evolving, and where startups can find resources and build networks to succeed. They also discussed why it is vital to help develop businesses in the Black community, and the importance of civic participation.

Young man and woman with a camera

Mylz Blake and Victoria Lawson
Panelist answering a question
Anthony Obas responds to a question by moderator Sharif King

Following the panel presentation, more than a dozen teams presented ideas to solve challenges on campus and in the community. The winner of the $500 Pitch Challenge was Caleb Obiagwu for his venture, Attend Pro. The competition was extremely tight, as panelists held a tie-breaker round between Obiagwu and Courtney Jiggets, for her venture, Inkdustrial, to select the final winner.

Four participants were presented special Distinction Awards at the event, honoring their work on campus as idea champions, change-agents and innovators: Ryan Williams, Jalen Nash, Anthony Obas and Chloe Smith.

student with prize  certificate
Victoria Lawson, Sharif King, Indaria Jones, Mylz Blake, Chloe Smith, Kelsey Davis, Sharon Owens and Anthony Obas
students holding certificates
Sharon Owens, Indaria Jones, Anthony Obas, Jalen Nash and Sharif King

Students with certificate
Victoria Lawson, Sharif King, Indaria Jones, Mylz Blake, Ryan Williams, Kelsey Davis, Sharon Owens and Anthony Obas