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April 16-17, 2025

About the Black & Brown Business Summit

The Black & Brown Business Summit was created by national stakeholders to elevate ethnic minorities and bring BIPOC businesses together to assist with connection building, programming, promotion, training, and to provide resources to help businesses grow and prosper. The Summit is owned and operated by the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce and is supported by several key stakeholders including Athene, Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo and more. The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce created The Summit back in 2021 and Athene became the naming rights sponsor in 2022.

The Summit includes a pitch competition, breakout sessions led by top experts, Mel Essex Award, inspirational keynote speakers and more. Our goal is to help advance the minority business community across the country and position Iowa as the best place in the nation to start and lead a minority business.

The Athene Black and Brown Business Summit is presented by

Attendee Hotel Accommodations

The Athene Black & Brown Business Summit attracts speakers and attendees from across the United States of America. For those traveling in from out of town, a special guest room block is made available. Additional information about hotel accommodations will be available soon.

Minority Business Expo

Join us for the Athene Black & Brown Business Summit Welcome Party and Minority Business Expo! Sponsored by Elevate by Principal and Holmes Murphy Group Companies, this event offers opportunities for both attendees and Minority Business Owners alike. Mix, mingle, and make meaningful connections with Minority Business Owners who are paving the way to generational wealth and success.

More info about the Welcome Party & Expo soon…

2024 Pitch Competition

Brought to you by our Exclusive Pitch Competition Partner

  • AbgT Shop from Des Moines, Iowa
  • Dtocs LLC from Portland, Oregon
  • Femly from Baltimore, Maryland
  • Flikshop from Washington, D.C.
  • Four Corners Coalition from Waterloo, Iowa
  • Fresh Mediterranean Express from Waukee, Iowa
  • Lightly from North Hollywood, California

View the press release

Our 2024 Speakers

View our impressive lineup of pitch competition mentors and judges, expert panelists, and keynote speakers joining us at this year’s Summit.

2024 Summit Schedule

View the entire two-day summit schedule and plan what sessions you plan to attend both in-person and virtually.

Athene Black & Brown Business Summit Speaker

How Iowa Ranks

In number of women-owned businesses

The worst state for minority businesses, with only one minority owned business for every 43 minority residents.

Download a list of financial resources in West Des Moines and across the state here.

How the Nation Ranks

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According to the most recent Census Bureau data available, Black people comprise approximately 14.2% of the U.S. population, however, Black businesses comprise only 2.2% of the nation’s 5.7 million employer businesses (firms with more than one employee). Click here to learn more from the Brookings Institution. 

Learn more about COVID-19’s effect on minority-owned small businesses in the United States according to McKinsey & Company, and additional ways you can help. 

Thank you to Summit sponsors and key partners that help make this important event possible:

Naming Rights Sponsor

Presenting Sponsor

Exclusive Pitch Competition Partner

Partner Sponsor

Advocate Sponsors

Welcome Party Sponsors

Future Innovator Sponsor

Spotlight Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

Champion Sponsors

Nonprofit Sponsors

Support Partner

Event Partners

Media Partner

Questions? Reach out to Katherine Harrington, WDM Chamber President and CEO, or the Summit planning committee:

Katherine BBBS

Katherine Harrington

WDM Chamber

Angela BBBS

Angela Jackson


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Terrence Thames

Cocoa Creative Agency

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Bobbi Segura

Women Lead Change

Ida Wood

Ida Wood

Paychex HR

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