It’s been more than a week. I’m still processing. To be honest. It was the biggest PitchBlack I’d had the opportunity to attend. It had the most people pitching. It was sold out. And for all of the energy and love I’d felt at previous PitchBlacks, this one just seemed to be something special. I’m really really glad I got the chance to attend. But it’s taken me a while to take it all in.
This Wednesday marks the fifth installment of PitchBlack, an event created by Stephen Green to showcase Black Portland founders that has grown into a national happening. Wednesday’s event will be the biggest PitchBlack Portland ever, held at Wieden+Kennedy’s headquarters in the Pearl. By all accounts, this is a big deal — and probably a little stressful for participants. That’s why Stephen reached out to former PitchBlack presenters to get some last minute words of advice and a bit of a pep talk.
PitchBlack is the premier local pitch event for black and brown founders. Built Oregon is striving to be the voice for consumer products in Oregon. So when you put the two together, you get an interesting night of pitches on consumer products from some of the most promising entrepreneurs in the state. And it’s all happening as part of the Built Up Festival.
Portland is lucky to be home to one of the most impactful and growing events for black entrepreneurs, PitchBlack, a pitch competition that has featured local black founders for the past three years and has now expanded to other cities. But where did the concept get its start? Free Enterprise sat down with founder Stephen Green to get the story.
As much as I love our Portland companies, I’m even happier when they can expand their markets by exporting their goods and services to other communities. It doesn’t matter if they’re tech, creative, food & beverage… you name it. Being part of the “traded sector” helps Portland. So you can only imagine how happy I was when I heard PitchBlack was being shared with other communities as well. They’ll be in Seattle on Wednesday night as part of Techstars Startup Week Seattle.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said a million times: PitchBlack is the best pitch event in Portland. So many amazing founders. And so many amazing pitches. This year was the most competitive of all, With 12 folks standing up and pitching their hearts out. But when the crowd’s votes were counted, one effort stood out as the clear winner: The Fab Lab with Crazy Aunt Lindsey.
Okay okay. So I know that’s a bit of a stretch. The solar eclipse isn’t going to make it pitch black around here. But I’m never one to shy away from the opportunity for a punny headline. Plus, I promised that I would start giving you more of a heads up about awesome events around town. So there’s that, too.
For many of us, our day to day is focused on very small early stage companies. Sometimes those companies are our own. Sometimes those are companies we know. Those companies we patronize. And those companies we try to help. But all of us could use a reminder about how powerful small businesses are. How important they are to our economy. And how much our support of them can mean.
If Portland’s Stephen Green has said it once, he’s said it a million times: “If you can’t see it… you can’t be it.” It’s an incredibly succinct way of describing the need for role models with whom you can relate. And that’s why he’s making sure that Portland’s black founders get seen. With PitchBlack, a regular gathering that showcases Portland’s community of black entrepreneurs. Read More