ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank has helped entrepreneurs connect with prominent investors and strike deals worth over $70 million in total since the show’s start.
While many Black entrepreneurs have already shined and made deals for their businesses on the show, Joshua DuBois and Brandon Andrews of Values Partnerships are working to ensure that the voices pitching on ABC’s Shark Tank reflect the diversity of audiences watching.
Values Partnerships is a Washington, D.C. based firm, that engages in faith-based and diverse communities worldwide. With the support of the television show’s producer, Mark Burnett, the organization plans to start a nationwide casting tour focused on bringing more diverse ideas and voices to the show.
“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 throughout 6 cities. Several entrepreneurs who pitched their businesses at the Values Partnerships events were selected for Season 7 of Shark Tank. The 2016 tour will begin this month, starting in Miami. Events are also planned in other cities, including Austin, Texas; NYC; Washington, D.C; Detroit, Michigan; New Orleans, Louisiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; and San Francisco/Oakland.
“Our first goal is always to get more entrepreneurs on the show. Second, is finding ways to empower entrepreneurs across the nation. We provide pitch prep, entrepreneurship resources, and access to capital discussions to ensure every entrepreneur that pitches at our events leaves better than they came,” says Andrews. “Despite shows like Shark Tank, the rate of entrepreneurship in America has declined since the 1970s. African Americans start businesses at a higher rate than other communities, and Black women are the most prolific group of entrepreneurs in the nation. This brilliance must be supported and these stories must be told,” adds Andrews.
To learn about the casting tour and sign up to pitch in your area, visit www.ValuesPartnerships.com/SharkTank/