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Now live! Explore the program for the upcoming 2024 Global Conference, taking place May 5-8, 2024.

Milken Institute Virtual Forum: Walking the Talk: Investing in the Future of Black Banks, Entrepreneurship, and Opportunity

Milken Institute Virtual Forum: Walking the Talk: Investing in the Future of Black Banks, Entrepreneurship, and Opportunity

Wednesday, February 24 from 11 am to 12 pm PT

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn have had a disproportionate effect on Black businesses and entrepreneurs across the country. As the number of active business owners fell by 20 percent from February to April 2020 (the largest drop on record), that rate was over twice as high for Black-owned businesses, at 41 percent.

Meanwhile, the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses reached only 20 percent of eligible recipients in areas with the highest densities of Black business ownership. These figures illustrate some of the short-term problems facing Black entrepreneurs, but long-term trends also demonstrate that access to capital remains a fundamental challenge.

Median white household wealth is almost eight times higher than that of Black households, while bank branches are scarcer and banking services more expensive in communities of color. What types of investment and infrastructure are required to reverse these trends? Are specific innovations or actors poised to improve financial inclusion and economic opportunity?

Please join us for a discussion on investing in the future of Black banks, entrepreneurship, and opportunity.


Eugene Cornelius, Jr
Senior Director, Center for Regional Economics and California Center, Milken Institute


Henry Childs II
CEO, Minority Wealth Commission; Chairman & President, BCF Capital

Emanuel Friedman
Co-CEO and Co-Chief Investment Officer, EJF Capital LLC

Tracy Gray
Founder and Managing Partner, The 22 Fund

Joseph Haskins, Jr.
Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, The Harbor Bank of Maryland

Closing Remarks

Aron Betru
Senior Director, Center for Financial Markets, Milken Institute

Milken Institute Virtual Forums

In light of the global pandemic, the Milken Institute has expanded our convening ability to include a wide variety of virtual engagement opportunities. Our Virtual Forums gather our global community of thought leaders and issue-area experts to tackle a wide range of critical issues, many stemming from the impacts of COVID-19, such as vaccine development and distribution, loneliness and social isolation, remote learning, retirement security, and more. Each Virtual Forum is broadcast to a curated group of invited participants that are able to interact with the expert panel through moderated audience Q&A, while also being livestreamed to a global audience via the Milken Institute website and social media.