2021 Innopower Minority Business Week



June 14th – 18th, 2021

WHAT: Introduces participants to paradigm-shifting knowledge of the landscape of regional economic Competitiveness and the framework that establishes conditions for success and prosperity in a region. In other words, the IMBW delivers an understanding of how the economic game is played at the regional level and how to compete and win at each level of the game successfully: i.e., education and training, and entrepreneurial startup, existing small business owner, growth-stage business.   

 WHY: From the 1970s to the present day, Black entrepreneurship has skyrocketed exponentially, yet the productivity outcomes of such high activity have been meager. Today, Census data show that all Black-owned businesses nationwide produce less than 1 percent GDP. The IMBW is designed to benefit Black entrepreneurs and business owners through unprecedented exposure to contextual knowledge of their regional innovation ecosystem, a critical missing ingredient in the educational infrastructure cultivating Black entrepreneurial talent.   

BENEFIT: The week will offer new insights and connections to people, organizations, and institutional drivers within the regional economic infrastructure and across the nation who support and champion the development and growth of the Black business productivity.  

 Going Global

InnoPower is developing a more robust pipeline of awareness and access to Africa’s talent and solutions, especially in the Nigeria and West Africa regions. Partnerships with The Funding Space, Afrigrants, and Ugwumba Leadership Center provide development opportunities for African and American entrepreneurs.

  1. Doing Business in Africa and opportunities Post covid
  2. How can African companies do Business in Indiana?
  3. Pitch School Africa – Pitch Competition
  4. Ugwumba Leadership Development – A pitch competition

Conference Team

Robert Shegog
Chair, Partnerships
Rupal Thanawala
Chair, Organizing Committee Managing Director, Trident Systems
Jason Williams
Chair, Programming and Planning
Brandi Sasore
Marketing & Branding / Speaker Engagement Partner
Trey Hester
Marketing & Branding Partner/ Tech Strategist
Thelma Ekiyor
Chair, Going Global

Speakers | Conference 2021

Dr. Ronald S. Rochon

University of Southern Indiana

Geneva Taylor

President - Managing Director
Tellis Executive Search

Bill Turner

Executive Director, Skillful Indiana and National Alliance Delivery, Markle Foundation
Skillful Indiana

Joy Mason

President, Senior Business Strategist
Optimist Business Solutions LLC

John Kuykendall

Dean, School of Education
University of Indianapolis

Dr. LaTonya Turner

Dean, Fred S. Klipsch Educators College
Marian University

Aleesia Johnson

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS)

Amar Patel

Executive Director
Teach for America

Blake Nathan

Educate ME Foundation, Inc.

De’Niece Harrison-Hudson

Program Director

Rebecca Rahschulte Ph.D.

Vice President of K-14 Initiatives & Statewide Partnerships
Ivy Tech Community College

Stephanie Bothun

Vice President and Co-Founder
Ascend Indiana

Dr. Jamie Bracey-Green

National Institute for Inclusive Competitiveness

Kimberly Neal

Executive Director

Mariama Shaheed

CEO / Head of School
Global Preparatory Academy

Earl Martin Phalen

Founder & CEO
Phalen Leadership Academies

Shannon Williams

Senior Vice President
The Mind Trust

The Honorable Todd Young

U.S. Senator
State of Indiana

Jamal Smith

The FLOWens Group

Dr. Lorenzo Esters

Chancellor, Indianapolis campus
Ivy Tech Community College

Oseye Boyd

Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper

Karrah Herring

Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer
State of Indiana

Scott Jones

President & Founder
Eleven Fifty Academy

Emil Ekiyor

Founder & CEO
InnoPower LLC

Mike Green

Chief Strategist
National Institute for Inclusive Competitiveness

Todd Khozein


Joyce Q. Rogers Esq.

Interim Executive Vice President for Development
Indiana University Foundation

Claudia Cummings

President & CEO
Indiana Philanthropy Alliance

Tiffany Benjamin

Sr. Director, Social Impact
Eli Lilly and Company

Ellen Quigley

Vice President of Programs
Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation

Leslie Bowles

Senior Director of Philanthropy and Community Engagemen
Women's Fund of Indiana at Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF)

Kamaria Hill

Government Sales Executive

Rona Asuncion

Co-Founder and Director of Product Design

Sunny Lu Williams

TechServ Corporation

Mathew Palakal Ph.D.

Senior Executive Associate Dean, School of Informatics and Computing

Emily Scott

Senior Program Manager
LISC Indianapolis

Ted Baker

Regional Director - Great Lakes

Mark Caswell

Chief Executive Officer
KSM Consulting

Kristian Andersen

High Alpha

Angela Freeman

Partner and Intellectual Property/Patent Attorney
Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Dana Pittard

Vice President, Defense Programs
Allison Transmission

Rod Cotton

Chief of Staff & Senior Vice President, Strategy & Transformation
Roche Diagnostics

Brandi Davis-Handy

Chief Public Relations Officer, US Utilities
The AES Corporation

Rupal Thanawala

Managing Director
Trident Systems

Andrea Hutchins

Vice President
Thomas P. Miller & Associates

John Thompson

Thompson Distribution Co.

Robin Shackleford

Indiana House District 98
Indiana House of Representatives

Marshawn Wolley

President and CEO
Black Onyx Management