DURHAM – Back with its fourth annual program, Black Wall Street Homecoming comes to downtown Durham this week for three days of networking mixers, expert panels and keynotes.
Headlining the event is a lineup of over 50 speakers who hail from a range of industries and expertise, from VC funds and tech startups to consultancies to law firms to public sector organizations.
The event will be held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in conjunction with the 5th annual Art of Cool Festival in downtown Durham, as well as Black Founders Exchange, a week-long startup immersion program and pitch event featuring 10 select startups.
- Black Founders Exchange program returns to Durham during Black Wall Street Homecoming
- Here’s a look at the 10 startups heading to Durham for Black Founders Exchange
Black Wall Street Homecoming began in 2015 as a tribute to historic downtown Durham’s own “Black Wall Street” on Parrish Street, a four-block hub of businesses and financial services owned by black entrepreneurs in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The event serves as a symbol of Black Wall Street’s impact on Durham’s history and economic growth through the decades and to today.
Black Wall Street Homecoming Co-Founder Dee McDougal says the 2018 agenda and speaker lineup are the program’s best to-date.
“We are excited to welcome attendees from across the country to the week’s events, including content sessions and networking mixers, curated specifically for entrepreneurs, builders and the community that supports them,” McDougal said.
The full agenda for the 2018 program is expansive, with three days of continuous programming. Here are some highlights:
A fireside chat with Arlan Hamilton, founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, will focus on her entrepreneurial journey, what she’s building at Backstage and her recent cover story in the September issue of Fast Company.
There will be dozens of presentations on a range of topics relevant to early-stage startups, including business sustainability, market strategy and scalability, pitching to investors, creative problem solving, consumer behavior and more.
BWS 2018 also features a presentation about the story of Reginald F. Lewis, the first African American to build a billion-dollar company. Rene “Butch” Meily, former VP of communications at TLC Beatrice International and one of Lewis’ closest associates, will deliver a talk on his life and career.
A panel on the future of transportation, features NC Department of Transportation General Counsel Chuck Watts (moderator), NC Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Torre Jessup, Precision Hawk VP of Enterprises Services Glady Singh, SAS U.S. Government Division Transportation Subject Matter Expert Katy Salamati and Cruise Automation Director of Government & Community Relations Henry Lawson Greenidge.
There will also be a block party event, #BackAlley, held on Thursday evening at Alley 26. A regular addition to Black Wall Street’s annual program, the party honors the Parrish Street district which inspired BWS.
McDougal says that Black Wall Street organizers don’t want access to be a barrier to participating. “This is content aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, professionals and community members need to hear,” she adds. “We’re offering several free sessions, and have a few ‘sponsored’ conference registrations still available.”
Details on the schedule and lineup are available here.
Tickets, available here, are priced at $100 for students, $175 for general admission, $245 VIP or $275 for a BWS/Art of Cool Festival joint ticket.