Minority Entrepreneurship

I’m proud to announce that I’ll be focusing on minority entrepreneurship in an effort to help close the economic & educational gap in minority communities. We’re committed to passing along the education, mentorship, & opportunities others have provided me by creating the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute that will inspire hope, provide capital, & actively support minority entrepreneurs.
-Jaylon Smith, Founder of MEI

The Problem.

A dime to a dollar. That’s the gap between the median net worth of an African American versus a white America. 1 in 5 black families have zero or negative net worth–twice the rate of white families. 98-to-2. Today in America, African American entrepreneurs access less than 2% of venture capital. The MEI champions minority entrepreneurs because we believe the only solution to closing this gap is creating an MEI marketplace that provides equal resources & opportunity.


Our Solution.

To tackle both of these problems, the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute (MEI) closes the economic and educational gap for minority entrepreneurs. They deliver this result through an annual pitch competition, consulting services, and a growing national portfolio of deals under management.

Past Events



On July 10, 2020, Commonwealth co-hosted the MEI Texas Showcase featuring:

  • $600,000 in impact investing capital
  • 147 minority entrepreneurs competed from 42 Texas cities
  • 30+ companies qualified for the MEI Texas Marketplace totaling over $13 million in deal flow

Please click the buttons for more information.

Meet the Winners


Fort Wayne

On July 12, 2019 MEI and Commonwealth held a pitch competition in Fort Wayne, showcasing some of Indiana’s brightest minority entrepreneurs

  • $195,000 in investment capital
  • 4 sharks, including Jaylon Smith, Mark Music, Jane DeHaven, and Gary Brackett
  • 60 applicants
  • 50+ families of minority youth & parents attended

Please click the buttons to learn more.

Meet the Winners


NFL Inspire Change

Jaylon Smith works to provide funding, mentorship and strategic planning for minorities in his vision for the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute (MEI).

NBC Interview

Dallas Cowboys star Jaylon Smith sat down with NBC’s Morgan Radford to talk about his passion off the football field. He shares how Minority Entrepreneurship Institute connects investors with minority-owned investment opportunities.