Joy Alise-Davis, Grace Andrews, Tyrone Poole, and Lori Andrews at last year’s PitchBlack event (Photo: Kersten Green)

Let’s Support Portland’s Black Entrepreneurs

This Thursday, nine Black entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to an audience of supporters at PitchBlack. Stephen Green, founder of the event, says it’s an opportunity for two worlds to collide. “We want to show these rising stars that the mainstream business ecosystem is here to support them.” Ticket proceeds from the event will go directly to the competition’s winners. Attending this event helps to build a more inclusive business community.

Our goal is to register 50 people in the next 48 hours. (Can’t make it? Buy a ticket anyway!) Register here. Then spread the word and Tweet about it at #PitchBlackPDX.

Green was inspired to create the event after realizing that so few people knew the story of our city’s African American entrepreneurs. Many Portlanders were astonished to learn that there are 4,000 Black-owned businesses in the city, and over 5,000 statewide. Last year’s winners are a testament to the event’s success. Tyrone Poole, founder of NoAppFee, went from being homeless to winning a top prize at 1776, a prestigious national competition. Grace Andrews is a rising star at Puppet, and Lori Caldwell of Minnie + George was recently featured on KGW for her handcrafted leather creations.

“For a lot of these entrepreneurs, the first step is seeing that their local community believes in them,” says Green. “Imagine being a room of people that look like you and other people from the entrepreneurial community lifting you up. That’s the experience we want to create.” Green says that the event has the chance to become a national model for supporting underrepresented founders.

Buy your ticket today. Join PICOC and support the next generation of entrepreneurs (and look out for a surprise announcement on stage).

Read more about PitchBlack and the growing Black entrepreneurial ecosystem in The Oregonian.

As always, you can find us at, on Twitter, and on Facebook. View all of our monthly calls-to-action here. Special thanks to our supporting businesses and members of the Tech Diversity Pledge.