Small Business Matters – National Urban League Entrepreneurship Summit Inspires

Small Business Matters – National Urban League Entrepreneurship Summit Inspires


by Genet Lakew, Digital Content Editor, National Urban League

On Saturday, we hosted Small Business Matters, a one-day Entrepreneurship Summit, at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati. It turned out to be a productive and informative day as business experts shared invaluable tips and resources tailored for budding and seasoned entrepreneurs. The workshops focused on ways to obtain financing to start or maintain a business, maximizing your Facebook presence to grow your business, and how to really do business with the Fortune 500.


Business Pitch Contest Awards $10,000 to Small Businesses

One of the central aspects of the Summit was the Business Pitch Contest, presented by The Coca-Cola Company! The contest was an interactive way to engage and encourage participants who have been in business for five years or less. Over 100 people submitted their proposals for a chance to win up to $5,000 and gain access to an eight-week business-mentoring program. With such impressive perks and a chance to be recognized and springboard to the next step on their business journey, the contestants came ready to win!

Jodi Brockington, connector and consultant at NIARA Consulting, did a fantastic job as host of the well-attended lunch program, with over 250 people present. Three judges, who for the first time were all women, deliberated from a pool of 10 finalists, down to 5, and finally 3 winners. Georgette Gigi Dixon, SVP and Director of National Partnerships at Wells Fargo & Company, Kathy Selker, President and CEO of Northlich, and Linda Brigham, senior manager of community relations at The Coca Cola Company were most impressed by three first, second, and third place winners who presented top-notch and unique pitches. While they deliberated, two Friends of Jodi, Alfred Edmond, Jr., SVP and Chief Content Officer at Black Enterprise Magazine, and Rodney Sampson, angel investor and found of Opportunity Hub, gave valuable feedback to a few emerging entrepreneurs in the audience. They were able to inspire and advise local entrepreneurs who attended the lunch and presented a 60-second pitch.

Congratulations to first place winner LogonTutor, awarded $5,000 for best overall pitch! We also salute Mirror, who won best pitch from a startup to 2 years and was awarded $2,500 and FlyCap/EGO Design Studios, also awarded $2,500, for best pitch from 2+ years.

  • Chris Darabi’s LogonTutor connects students with local and online private tutors for academic subjects. LogonTutor helps K-12 and college students find qualified and affordable tutors.
  • Erik Zamudio’s Mirror uses three-dimensional scanning technology to make online shopping easier for virtual consumers. Mirror specifically focuses on acquiring full body 3-D images of individuals on a large scale to be used in numerous applications – the first of which is a virtual dressing room.
  • Brandon Parker’s FlyCap is one of EGO Design Studios’ newest innovative products and provides 360° aerial video capture. FlyCap’s unique aerial video captures save time and money by providing video coverage in areas impossible to be physically reached by human beings.

This year’s pool featured a multicultural mix of contestants and a diverse selection products and services, with an emphasis on technology and digital space. If you are inspired by these three winners and want to take the next step to successful entrepreneurship, reach out to one of the 10 entrepreneurship centers at our affiliate chapters that provide valuable information, support, and resources.

Entrepreneur Linda Fritz of CRESBI, one of the 10 finalists in the competition, had this to say about her experience as a contestant: “Thanks so much for the chance to pitch and for the excellent conference you all put on today! That was my first time ever asking for money for my business, I’ve been financing it all myself from my video business, and it was pretty exciting!  I really appreciate the opportunity and all the hard work that went into putting on such a great event!”

Thank you to all the visionary contestants and our partners Wells Fargo for sponsoring the Small Business Matters Lunch and The Coca-Cola Company for presenting the Business Pitch Contest! We appreciate your commitment to entrepreneurship and small businesses.

Learn more about the individuals entrepreneurs and their businesses here and check out photos/videos while you’re at it: CLICK HERE


  1. Small business is exactly in order,especially in these hard economic times. Much of the inequality which exists in America has little to do with politics, voting and the things we’re led to believe are important. Actually, inequality is driven by distorted economics realities that make it difficult for African Americans to obtain the funds to get the Capital to start a business…African Americans were never led to believe, that they should be economically prosperous, we were taught to work for someone else and not having our own businesses. When Black People learn to secure and control our economic power, we will then have undeniable political power.