Multi-Cultural Entrepreneurs Take Center Stage At Detroit Conference For Startup Businesses.

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Morgan Stanley’s Carla Harris and Beauty Mogul Lisa Price joined other panel participants to discuss “The Art of the Exit Strategy”

PowerMoves.NOLA initiated its national expansion with the launch and activation of PowerMoves@Detroit sponsored by Morgan Stanley. Co-hosted by Invest Detroit and DEGC, PowerMoves@Detroit was a three-day event in which local and nationally recruited entrepreneurs of color participated in venture capital pitch competitions, vying for $120,000 in direct prizes and a chance to raise their visibility to other investors. The event was designed to increase the number of minority-founded, venture-backed companies in high-tech and high-growth sectors in Detroit and across the country. The event featured pitch competitions, a PowerUp early-stage boot camp and a panel discussion appropriately entitled the “Art of the Exit” moderated by Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley, and featured panelists, Lisa Price, Founder of Carol’s Daughter, Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, and Robin Richards, Founder of CareerArc and Internships.com. Also in attendance was Power Pitch competition emcee Paul Brunson, TV host of “Our World with Black Enterprise”, author and business executive.

PowerMoves.NOLA ,based in New Orleans, is a national initiative designed to increase opportunities as well as alleviate obstacles for minority entrepreneurs. The success in New Orleans has lead PowerMoves.NOLA to launch regional PowerMoves.NOLA events around the country and activate inclusive ecosystems in targeted cities. Through its fellowship program, pitch competitions, and boot camp, PowerMoves.NOLA acts as a catalyst, providing early-stage and high-growth minority entrepreneurs with the capital, advisors and infrastructure they need to succeed.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM POWERMOVES@DETROIT:

"The Art of The Exit" Panel and Luncheon
Held at the historic Detroit Athletic Club, the panel discussion was moderated by Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley, and Author of Strategize to Win: The New Way to Start Out, Step Up, or Start Over in Your Career. The panel featured Lisa Price, founder of Carol's Daughter, Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency and Robin Richards, founder of CareerArc and Internships.com. The panel was created to provide insights on the importance of entrepreneurs having a solid idea of their “end game” when building their growth strategies. Each panelist shared stories regarding the dynamics of taking companies to the next level and Price shared the remarkable Carol’s Daughter/L’Oreal story.

The luncheon highlighted various techniques and advice including:

  • Entrepreneurs should (from ‘day zero’) build their business for an eventual sale by identifying market opportunities and move quickly to fill those gaps
  • Enhance credibility by utilizing the attorneys, accountants and bankers that your potential acquirors use
  • Don’t be afraid to take on outside investors
  • Research and utilize government funding and contracting opportunities

Morgan Stanley Power Pitch Competitions:
Each pitch competition featured five companies each competing for a $40,000 cash prize. The Angel round first prize was awarded to Herb Gibson, founder and CEO of GAPro System, a cloud-based insurance verification system for the insurance industry to accept, verify and notify in real time the status of insurance information.
The Series A first prize was awarded to Rodney Williams, CEO of LISNR, a high frequency, inaudible smart tone technology, a new communication standard that sends data over audio.

PowerUp Boot Camp Demo Day Presentations:
Eddie Carrington and Jerry Rucker, co-founders Warranty Ninja, a Detroit company that provides the ability to register and manage product warranties for customers, was awarded a cash prize of $20,000, as the winner of the PowerUp Demo Day. In the six weeks leading up to the Demo Day competition, 14 early-stage entrepreneurs of color participated in a PowerUp Boot Camp program focused on developing viable and fundable business models with advice from successful entrepreneur’s and investor mentors. The boot camp culminated with the Demo Day presentations during which companies pitched their ideas to thought leaders and sector experts.

New Orleans. Detroit.…Your City! PowerMoves.NOLA is committed to supporting entrepreneurs of color in New Orleans and beyond. Through its City Ventures program, PowerMoves will continue to introduce regional and national startup talent to partner cities, highlight existing local entrepreneurial resources and ecosystems, and aid in the strategic positioning of those cities as regional hubs for high-growth and high-tech entrepreneurs of color.
If you’re interested in bringing PowerMoves to your city, please email info@powermovesnola.org.

ABOUT:

POWERMOVES.NOLA & NEW ORLEANS STARTUP FUND
PowerMoves.NOLA is an initiative of the New Orleans Startup Fund (NOSF
The New Orleans Startup Fund (The Startup Fund) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) evergreen seed fund established by Greater New Orleans area business and financial leaders to accelerate the growth of early-stage, innovative businesses into venture-ready companies. The Startup Fund’s mission is to create jobs and economic prosperity for the 10-parish region of Greater New Orleans by providing seed capital and business assistance to early-stage firms that demonstrate significant growth potential.

PowerMoves@Detroit is the first event of City Ventures, a series of activities in cities across the nation that are committed to the PowerMoves.NOLA mission of increasing the number of venture-backed minority-founded companies. Through City Ventures, PowerMoves.NOLA will introduce regional and national startup talent to partner cities, highlight existing local entrepreneurial resources and ecosystems, and aid in the strategic positioning of those cities as regional hubs for high-growth and high-tech minority entrepreneurship.

MORGAN STANLEY
Morgan Stanley is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services. With offices in more than 43 countries, the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. (http://www.morganstanley.com)

INVEST DETROIT
Invest Detroit is a certified Community Development Financial Institution and a leading source of private sector financing which utilizes a variety of funding tools through managed for-profit and non-profit targeted funds to support economic and community development in underserved communities primarily in the City of Detroit.

Invest Detroit and its related entities were formed to facilitate funding from the public, private and foundation sectors and to address targeted needs of the communities it serves. Representing $168 million in funds and tax credits, Invest Detroit serves as a platform intended to meet a broad range of financing needs to support business expansion and real estate development, the creation and retention of jobs, and the revitalization of distressed areas. (http://www.investdetroit.com)

DEGC
DEGC is a non-profit organization that serves as the lead implementing agency for business retention, attraction and economic development initiatives in the city of Detroit. DEGC is led by a 60-member board comprised of business, civic, labor and community leaders. Its 40 professionals provide staff services for key public authorities that offer tax credits and other forms of financing for projects that bring new jobs or economic activity to the city. Among them: the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA), Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Neighborhood Development Corporation (NDC), Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA), and Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA). DEGC also provides planning, project management and other services under contract to the City of Detroit. (http://www.degc.org)

**For pictures of the event, please contact Ryan Stewart via email at rstewart*(At)terriewilliams(dot)com

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Ryan H. Stewart

Terrie. M. Williams
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