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Top Takeaways From Investing In Returning Citizens Pop-Up

An Untapped Resource For Investors And Employers

The pandemic has brought unprecedented hardship to small businesses and their owners. COVID-19 has compounded inequities, driving underestimated entrepreneurs further into isolation. Current and formerly incarcerated returning citizens and the founders creating solutions for these audiences are coping with their own challenges that are magnified by the pandemic yet are being resilient in the face of adversity.

This is why we hosted a pop-up in partnership with the National Black Chamber of Commerce to discuss ways to address and remove barriers identified by entrepreneurs like implicit bias, network connectivity, and access to talent enablement programs. Specifically, this curated event’s purpose was to educate, entertain, and solve specific innovation-related problems for current and formerly incarcerated returning citizens.

We convened 90 attendees, which included entrepreneur support organizations, VCs, and entrepreneurs, to discuss the challenges of driving growth in a COVID world. There was also space for networking and engagement for attendees.

Below are the top takeaways, panelist information, attendee feedback, and video highlights.

Video Highlights

Attendee Testimonials In Interactive Chat


  • Harry Alford, Co-Founder, humble ventures (Moderator)
  • Marcus Bullock, Founder & CEO, Flikshop
  • Ericka Gillespie, Director, Fox Reentry Center

Topics discussed:

  • Economic opportunities
  • Career advancement
  • Building your network
  • Education: Leadership development, business mentoring

Top Takeaways

  • Returning citizens are an untapped resource for many employers.
  • Build your parachute on the way down.
  • Don’t give up.
  • Whatever you believe, you’re right.
  • You have to know you’re going to win.
  • The goal is to stop recidivism and help people lead healthy lives.

About Hosts

The National Black Chamber of Commerce

The National Black Chamber of Commerce® is the largest Black business association in the world and is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African-American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States.

humble ventures

humble ventures is a venture development firm that drives innovation forward through collaboration and partnerships with startups, investors, and established organizations. We focus on diverse entrepreneurs and those building solutions for diverse audiences.



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