Pitch Black Conference

A business Conference, Business Expo and Pitch Competition dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship in the Midwest

Presented by the Midlands African Chamber, Inc

2024 Theme:

Digital Disruption: Unleashing Opportunities for BIPOC Entrepreneurs

Saturday, Jun 29, 2024
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Mike & Josie Harper Center

602 N 20th St, Omaha, NE 68178

What is Pitch Black?

Pitch Black is a dynamic conference strategically crafted to fuel entrepreneurship across diverse communities in the Midwest. Our event showcases prominent speakers, a business exposition, and an exciting business pitch competition. The competition is specifically tailored to offer a platform for emerging BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) as well as immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas. Participants have the opportunity to compete for a grand prize of up to $15,000, complemented by invaluable in-kind support surpassing $40,000. This support extends to essential services such as marketing, legal, and accounting, providing crucial assistance for their ventures.

A groundbreaking initiative, Pitch Black, is committed to nurturing entrepreneurship and fortifying businesses. By facilitating connections between emerging entrepreneurs and potential investors, mentors, and essential resources, our conference strives to invigorate economic growth and champion diversity in the local economy.

We invite you to partner with the MAC and Pitch Black in championing entrepreneurship within black and minority communities in Nebraska and the broader Midwest. Your involvement as a business or community partner is crucial to realizing the success of this endeavor. Let's collaborate to make a lasting impact together.

2023 Pitch Black Highlights

Pitch Black 2024 Conference Agenda

Disclaimer: Agenda sessions  and times are subject to change as the timeline of the conference is still evolving. Please contact us at [email protected] for more information.


07:00 AM - 08:00 AM: Exhibitor and Volunteer Arrival and Set-Up
08:00 AM - 08:45 AM: Registration + Breakfast + Tech Showcase

Welcome and Opening Remarks

08:45 AM - 09:00 AM: Welcome and Opening Remarks
09:00 AM - 09:30 AM: Opening Keynote Speaker: Robert Blackwell Jr., Chairman, Quant16
Topic: Digital Transformation: Disruptive Ecosystem Design-Thinking
Overview: This session will unveil the transformative potential of Ecosystem Design-Thinking in the age of AI, highlighting how this scientific approach can revolutionize business outcomes for entrepreneurs. Learn how to differentiate between schooling and true understanding, equipping your business for digital success.


09:45 AM - 10:45 AM: Choose your topics and rotate to engage in short enlightening discussions and workshops led by experts in their fields.
Track 1: Founders Forum: Navigating the Journey from Startup to Success
Location: Ballroom

Overview: Hear from diverse entrepreneurs who have navigated the challenging journey from startup to multi-million dollar success. Gain insights into their experiences, strategies, and lessons learned.

Presented by: Invest Nebraska
Moderator: Ishmael Samuel, Chief Technology Officer, Paragon


  • Luper V. Akough, CEO, Clout Enterprises
  • Jesse McConnell, Founder and CEO, Webtide, LLC
  • Fatou Sogoyou Bekeyi, Founder and CEO, Finally Voyage
  • Andrew Prystai, Founder and CEO, Event Vesta
Track 2: Creating and Optimizing Reels Workshop
Location: room  4069

Speaker: Gibran Jones, Meta
Presented by: Meta
Overview: Learn to leverage Instagram Reels to engage your audience and achieve business goals. This hands-on workshop provides practical guidance on creating compelling Reels that captivate viewers and drive results.

Track 3: Being Local, Going Global
Location: room  4068 

Facilitator: Laban Njuguna, CEO of Zabunni Coffee, Cornhusker Connections, and MAC Board Chairman
Presented by:
Creighton University Heider College of Business
Join us for a panel discussion on how Nebraska businesses can expand globally, facilitated by Laban Njuguna, CEO of Zabunni Coffee and MAC Board Chairman. Our expert panelists will explore how digital technology can facilitate international growth, covering topics such as e-commerce, digital marketing, and supply chain management.


  • Tiffany Gamble, CEO, Gamble Tech Firm and Emerging Ladies Academy
  • Ope Banwo, Founder, and Mobisoft 360 Inc., Banwo and Igbokwe Law Firm
  • Deen Albert, Director of Operations, Grand Island Express, Inc and Chair America Bound
  • Joe Chapuran, African Development Director, Western Forms and VP of International for Integrated Trade Financial


11:00 AM - 11:45 AM: Choose your topics and rotate to engage in short enlightening discussions and workshops led by experts in their fields.
Track 1: Future of Work Panel
Location: room  4068

Overview: Explore how technology is reshaping the workplace. Gain insights from industry experts on the future of work, collaboration, and success in a digital landscape.

Presented by: Wells Fargo
Moderator: LaShonna Dorsey, Executive Director, InternNE, Nebraska Tech Collaborative


  • Amanda Martinez, Software Engineer, Wisp
  • Krystal Ryder, Director, DoSpace
  • Keele Taylor, Chief Human Resources Officer, HR Minded Consulting Services
  • Jasmine Kingsley, Chief People Officer, Hudl
  • Arthur Brown, Dean of Information Technology, Metropolitan Community College
Track 2: Unlock AI: Guide for Business
Location: room  4069

Speaker: Gibran Jones
Presented by:
Overview: Learn the core principles of AI—"Fuel" and "Freedom"—and their application in the AI performance system. Understand how to harness data, creativity, media, and measurement to enhance business outcomes and discover tools to optimize AI experiences.

Track 3: Harnessing Digital Disruption: AI and Legal Innovation
Location: 2057-2058 (on the second floor)

Speaker: Jack Horgan, Shareholder, Koley Jessen
Presented by: Koley Jessen
Jack Horgan of Koley Jessen explores how AI is transforming legal practices, offering opportunities for businesses to optimize operations and unlock growth. Learn how to leverage AI for contract analysis, compliance management, and more, while ensuring affordable and ethical legal services for small businesses. Gain practical insights to navigate the legal landscape with confidence.

Lunch and Keynote Speaker

12:00 PM - 01:10 PM: Lunch and Keynote Presentation by Aasiyah Abdulsalam, CEO, The Renatural
Presented by: Google
Overview: Join Aasiyah Abdulsalam as she unveils the future of the beauty industry through innovation and technology. Her journey from academic research to creating patented wig manufacturing technology has revolutionized the hair extensions market. Learn how her visionary approach is setting new standards in the industry.

Finalists Presentations

01:40 PM - 03:35 PM: Watch the Pitch Black Finalists, Tippl, LLC,  SunFlare Brands, Love Yo Pup LLC, Chalice Health LLC, Caring Expertise, LLC,  compete for up to $15000 in the Pitch Black Competition Finale.

Awards and Prize Ceremony

03:40 PM - 04:00 PM: Pitch Black and Investors Pick Awards Winners Announcement and Prize Ceremony

Closing Remarks & Networking

04:00 PM - 04:10 PM: Closing Remarks

04:10 PM - 05:00 PM: Networking Reception

Prize Amounts

2024 Pitch Black Finalists

Eddy Airiohuodion

Chalice Health

Olabimpe Airiohuodion

Chalice Health

Mark Wong


Nina Austin

Love Yo Pup

Breonna Kellogg

Caring Expertise

Shanae Nared

Caring Expertise

Rodney Bennett

SunFlare Brands Company


Taylor Johnson


Keynote Speakers

Robert Blackwell Jr.


Aasiyah Abdulsalam

The Renatural

Speakers and Panelists

LaShonna Dorsey

Nebraska Tech Collaborative

Ishmael Samuel


Luper Akough

Clout Enterprises

Arthur Brown

Metropolitan Community College

Keele Taylor

HR Minded Consulting

Amanda Martinez


Andrew Prystai

Event Vesta

Krystal Rider

Do Space

Gibran Jones


Jack Horgan

Koley Jessen

Jesse McConnell


Fatou Sogoyou-Bekeyi

Finally Voyage

Jasmine Kingsley


Dr. Ope Banwo

Banwo & Igbokwe

Tiffany Gamble

Gamble Tech Firm

Deen Albert

Grand Island Express

Joe Chapuran

Integrated Trade Finance

Karine Sokpoh

Midlands African Chamber

Fidele Mienso

Midlands African Chamber

Gonael Gnininvi

Midlands African Chamber

Euloge Sekle

Midlands African Chamber

Toyi Jack Beguedou

Midlands African Chamber

Rose McKelvey

Midlands African Chamber

John Ouedrago

Midlands African Chamber

Martine Quartey

Midlands African Chamber

Laban Njuguna

Midlands African Chamber


Wilbur Jenkins

COO, Woodmen Life

Veta jeffery

President, Jeffery Consultants

Eric Butler

President, CEO of Aswani Butler Investment Associates

Frank Hayes

President, Hayes & Associates

Anita Johnson

Manager, Wells Fargo

James Mobley

Data Center Facilities Technician, Google

Kim Rowell

Vice President, Nebraska & Iowa Cox Communications, Central Region


Pitch Black, a premier conference and Pitch Competition, empowers BIPOC and immigrant/refugee entrepreneurs by showcasing innovative ideas. Since 2021, MAC has served 84 microbusinesses. Pitch Black identifies BIPOC business leaders with impact-oriented solutions that addressing community needs and spur sustainable growth. On June 29, 2024 The event will be hosted at Creighton University Harper Center and feature national and local speakers, a tech showcase, live pitches judged by business leaders, a business expo, and over 300 attendees.

Your support is vital for making the MAC Xcelerator program happen. It's a nine-week program helping minority entrepreneurs with business training and mentorship. Participants can earn cash rewards and a chance to compete in the Pitch Black competition finale on June 29, 2024. When you support Pitch Black, your organization gains visibility and contributes to success, empowerment, and cultural awareness in the Midwest community.

Sponsorship Packages

Presenting - Catalyst Sponsor

Platinum - Innovator Sponsor

Gold - Accelerator Sponsor

Silver - Partner Sponsor

Bronze - Supporter Sponsor

Copper - Fan Sponsor

Vendor Table










Pitch Black could not be possible without the support of the following funders: Weitz family Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Lozier Foundation, and United Way of the Midlands

Community Partners

Media Partners


Individual Ticket – Members


Individual Ticket – Non Members


Table of 10 – Members


Table of 10 – Non Members


Hotel Reservation

For hotel reservations, our partner is Cambria Hotel. Click the button below to learn more and reserve your accommodation.

Contact us

For sponsorship, partnership, volunteer opportunities, and other inquiries, please use the contact form below.

(402) 881-0343 [email protected]