HARLEM RESTAURATEUR MARCUS SAMUELSSON ON BLACK ENTREPRENEURSHIP: ‘DON’T DEVALUE WHAT’S IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD‘
Marcus Samuelsson, chef and founder of the Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem, New York, joins business tycoon Daymond John and a host of other famed entrepreneurs for the second annual Black Entrepreneurs Day. The event was filmed at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater and will stream on Facebook Live Thursday at 7 p.m. EST.
In his Game Changer Conversation, Samuelsson urges viewers that “as Black people, specifically, you cannot listen to the things that people tell you what it’s not worth because so much of our stuff has value.”
“If you and I were to open a chocolate company, we can get the cocoa beans from Ghana,” he said. “And if we want to make it fancy, we call it a ‘Belgian chocolate.’ If we would have put value in Ghanaian chocolate versus Belgian chocolate, now think about the value proposition from Ghana in terms of ‘I’m going to be the best chocolate maker in the world’ versus ‘I’m just going to ship it away to Belgium and get another price.’”
In an exclusive with theGrio, Samuelsson expounds on this principle of valuing community as a path to entrepreneurial success.
“Don’t underestimate the scale of something that started small,” he said. “Really appreciate the people in your community because they’re geniuses. Just because we sometimes couldn’t get into those schools or couldn’t do it the structured way, the linear path is not always for us, and it doesn’t mean you’re not going to be amazing.”
Black Entrepreneurs Day will feature other Game Changer Conversations with Shaquille O’Neal, Tyra Banks, Michael Strahan, Rev Run, and Janice Bryant Howroyd, plus a live musical performance by Khalid.