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 American. 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.

Impact Stories

MEI B-School

MEI believes the only solution to closing the gap is creating a marketplace that provides equitable resources & opportunity. Check out MEI's library of resources in the Founder's Toolkit.

Portfolio Companies



Tampa, Florida

On July 9, 2021, MEI and Commonwealth will host the third annual MEI Pitch Competition and Showcase in Tampa, Florida. If you are interested in getting involved in the Tampa showcase. Apply now to compete for a prize pool of $200,000+ in capital!


2021 Minority Business Week

On June 14-18, 2021, InnoPower and Recorder Media Group hosted their third annual conference and Minority Business Week. This event featured entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, educators, investors, workforce development organizations, and community advocates convening to identify frameworks and action guidelines on how innovation initiatives can accelerate economic development and wealth generation for MVPs (Most Vulnerable Populations) in Indiana and Sub-Saharan Africa.

2020 Minority Entrepreneurship Institute

Educational Summit

On November 11 &12, 2020, MEI held its inaugural Educational Summit. The event featured sessions about marketing from Charlotte Jones, business operations from Jewel Burks Solomon, perspectives of the life of a minority entrepreneur from Naithan Jones, and much more. 

Please click the buttons for more information and watch the Summit’s promo videos below! 


Dallas, Texas

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, Indiana

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.

NFLPA Pitch Day 2021

Jaylon Smith and MEI is honored at the 5th annual NFLA Pitch Day. Watch Jaylon announce the winner of the Pitch Day.