Shark Tank personality headlines inaugural WNC Black Business Expo

ASHEVILLE – The inaugural WNC Black Business Expo is coming up in early April, featuring several high-profile speakers — including a big-time shark.

That’s a shark as in the hit ABC television show, “Shark Tank,” which features budding or aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to a panel of heavy-hitting entrepreneurs.

Daymond John, CEO and Founder of FUBU, a global lifestyle brand and a fashion industry pioneer with over $6 billion in product sales worldwide, is in his 13th season on “Shark Tank.” He will be the featured speaker April 9 of the three-day Expo, which will run from April 8-10 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville.

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John, who is African American, is also an author of five books, including New York Times best-sellers “The Power of Broke” and “Rise and Grind.” As the event organizers note, he’s come a long way from taking out a $100,000 mortgage on his mother’s house and working from her basement.

Rika Harrison, executive director of the WNC Black Business Expo, said she hopes and believes John’s story, along with other featured speakers who are Latino and African American and overcame similarly challenging circumstances, will inspire those in attendance. The event is free, with the exception of the keynote speaker luncheon, which costs $50 plus service fees.

Rika Harrison, executive director of the WNC Black Business Expo, says organizers expect 700-plus people to attend the inaugural event April 8-10, 2022.

Harrison said they’re expecting about 700 people to attend over three days.

“Two of my Latinos speakers and one of my special guest speakers that will be appearing Friday, they started from poverty,” Harrison said. “One of them was homeless, and she’s an attorney now. She’s a 13-time national pitch champion, three times number one best-selling author.”

Another speaker, an African American, is one of nine children and grew up in extreme poverty, she added. The event will also feature multiple local entrepreneurs who’ve succeeded in various enterprises ranging from lawn care to youth programs.

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