National headliner announced for Derby Diversity & Business Summit’s new Derby event focusing on next generation entrepreneurs!

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Derby Diversity & Business Summit and University of Louisville School of Public Health’s Center for Creative Placehealing, are collaborating on ways to develop venture capital/private equity access for next generation entrepreneurs, especially GenZ, who are people of color, women, disabled and/or LGBT from the Ohio River Valley region.

The event is being hosted by Tawana Bain (Derby Diversity & Business Summit Founder) and Theo Edmonds. Curated with support from Story Louisville. The event headliner will be ARLAN HAMILTON, founder of Backstage Capital.

Sponsored by Pure Path Capital, whose CFO Michael Markiewicz is a member of the LGBT community, the event will focus at the intersection of health sciences and the creative industries. The event will take place on May 1, 2019 from 3p-6p at the UofL Health Sciences Campus.

More exciting announcements about this inclusive approach to entrepreneurship in the Ohio River Valley are forthcoming.


To learn more why this event matters and how Arlan/Backstage are making change happen, continue reading below.


In a 2017 Medium article Zebras Fix What Unicorns Break - authors Jennifer, Mara, Astrid & Aniyia wrote:

The current technology and venture capital structure is broken. It rewards quantity over quality, consumption over creation, quick exits over sustainable growth, and shareholder profit over shared prosperity. It chases after “unicorn” companies bent on “disruption” rather than supporting businesses that repair, cultivate, and connect.

A group of Zebras is called a dazzle. That’s why we started thinking of the event as a dazzle lab.

Jump to Fast Company, 03.08.19:

“When venture firm Backstage Capital announced last fall that it would be launching a four-city accelerator program for underrepresented founders, more than 1,800 applications poured in. Today, after six months of vetting, Backstage is naming the 25 startups selected to participate in the accelerator’s inaugural cohort. In keeping with Backstage’s mission, each one is led by at least one woman, person of color, or LGBTQ entrepreneur.”

Backstage was founded by Arlan Hamilton.

Arlan is a remarkable entrepreneur who built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT.

Started in 2015, Backstage has now invested nearly $5M into 100 startups led by underestimated founders and has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Quartz. Arlan made history by making the cover of Fast Company as the first Black woman who is not an entertainer or athlete. She and Backstage Studio were also the subjects of Season 7 of the popular Gimlet Media podcast, StartUp.

Arlan entered the venture investing world from an unconventional path. Before launching Backstage Capital, she authored the groundbreaking blog "Your Daily Lesbian Moment", which she grew to a monthly readership of 50,000 fans worldwide. She has written for AOL, SuicideGirls, and Curve Magazine, and founded and published the internationally distributed indie magazine Interlude. Arlan was also a live music production professional, having served as a tour coordinator to numerous international artists including Toni Braxton, and Jason Derulo.

In 2018, Arlan co-founded, along with Investment Partner Christie Pitts, Backstage Studio, a new venture studio designed to build products, services, and initiatives that serve the mission of eliminating underrepresentation in tech by empowering founders and their teams to succeed. Also in 2018, Backstage announced the launch of

Backstage Accelerator, a 3-month program designed to give founders the support they need to reach their next critical milestone. Backstage is a fully-remote team that has quickly scaled to 20 employees working together with an ever-expanding roster of world-class mentors and partners.

More announcements about will be coming before April 1, 2019!

Learn more about the vision for Derby Diversity & Business Summit from its founder, Tawana Bain.