Here’s How to Get $150,000 From ‘Shark Tank”s Daymond John

Daymond John recalls selling hats outside the historic Apollo Theater in the 1990s. After selling his wares, he returned home, turned on the TV and watched Showtime at the Apollo.

Black Entrepreneur Day

Now he enters the stage in front of a frenzied crowd.

“It feels like a moment when we come full circle,” says the FUBU founder and shark tank star tells entrepreneur.

John is hosting the third annual Black Entrepreneurs Day Presented by Chase on October 27th at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The event will feature several famous black entrepreneurs, including Shaquille O’Neil (with a franchise portfolio worth more than $100 million) and tennis champion Venus Williams, Oscar-winning director Spike Lee and many more.

This year, the event is giving away $150,000 to Black entrepreneurs and business owners through the NAACP Powershift Grant. Applications for the scholarship and free tickets to the event are available at The event will also be streamed live.

Also see: Daymond John explains how LL Cool J secretly turned a GAP ad into a FUBU commercial and generated massive sales for both companies

entrepreneur spoke to John about Black Entrepreneurs Day and what it takes to get a shark to invest in your company.

What can viewers and participants expect at Black Entrepreneurs Day this year?
This year we added a pitch competition, a shark tank-like event where people can showcase their companies. not how shark tank, but it’s free money. With this money you can make mistakes. We don’t take a percentage of your business, no equity, it’s just a grant saying we believe in you and your business. We also have conversations with entrepreneurs who have done this [won] Oscars & [championships] like Spike Lee and Venus Williams.

What do you look for in an entrepreneur?
I’m looking for people I can identify with. people I want to do business with. I don’t care if you apply to be an assistant in my office or ask me to invest $1,000,000 in your business. I treat everyone equally if I believe they have an opportunity to develop further.

What are some of the most common mistakes young entrepreneurs make?
You spend too much money too soon. It is important to educate yourself in advance and learn how to avoid landmines. In the black community, many people are not financially literate. Our families don’t come from inherited wealth, and when we make money, we might spend it on the wrong things.

Business spending or spending in general?
Both. Another mistake I see often is overfunding. Entrepreneurs take out a $100,000 loan to open a large store when they only needed $1,000 to open a Shopify site. They make money but don’t know what to do with it.

See also: Daymond John Won’t Quit (Podcast)

Have there been any financial shortfalls that you have learned from?
Yes, since I had no financial knowledge, I almost lost my mother’s house. I closed FUBU three times from 1989 to 1992. I squandered my first $20 million, not buying lavish things, but because I didn’t have a financial background. I didn’t know how these things worked. I haven’t spoken to anyone at Chase. I didn’t go to a bank. I didn’t know what I was doing.

Are there deals you haven’t done?
No, we get so many offers, I have no regrets. But sometimes I have buyer regrets.

Would you like to go into more detail?
No, I wouldn’t do that to any entrepreneur. But I’ve invested in several companies that I regret. If I’ve invested in your restaurant but I’m in the back of the kitchen doing dishes and cleaning, I’ve made a mistake.

Is there anything outside of work that helps you as an entrepreneur? you kept saying shark tank that you enjoy fishing as a hobby.
I don’t have a fishing hobby… Fishing is life. All this, all I do shark tank, the investment, pays for fishing. I fish every morning. It brings me joy. Entrepreneurs definitely need a break, whether you’re running the Chicago marathon or practicing yoga. [it] will help you [be a better] entrepreneur. For me it is also family. I’ll be in the air for 12 hours just to see my little girl for eight hours. Being with her helps me keep my feet on the ground.

Would you ever consider investing in a fishing company?
No, I don’t want it ruined by having to deal with Kevin[O’Leary] and Barbara [Corcoran].

*This interview has been slightly edited and shortened for clarity.

Related: If you’re an entrepreneur, Daymond John says now is the time to take advantage of this company’s free service

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