Derby Diversity & Business Summit Announces a Landmark Cultural Event to Advance and Diversify Entrepreneurship in the Ohio River Valley


Derby Diversity & Business Summit Announces a Landmark Cultural Event to Advance and Diversify Entrepreneurship in the Ohio River Valley

Louisville, KY—Derby Diversity & Business Summit (DDBS) and University of Louisville Center for Creative Placehealing (ULCCP), based in the School of Public Health & Information Sciences (SPHIS), announce GENXYZ a landmark cultural event on May 1 in Louisville, KY to catalyze support for Ohio River Valley region entrepreneurs who are people of color, women, and LGBTQ. The event will take place on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the Galt House as part of the Derby Diversity & Business Summit. A day pass for the Summit’s May 1 events, including GENXYZ, can be purchased at

The event features headliners including Backstage Capital founder, Arlan Hamilton, and entrepreneur and former United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Matthew Barzun.

“One of the core values at Backstage is, "Diversity is strength." So, when I heard about the Derby Diversity and Business Summit's commitment to increase diversity in entrepreneurship, it was easy for me to decide to participate. This commitment will continue to strengthen the Louisville, entrepreneurial ecosystem," said Hamilton.

Created by entrepreneurs Tawana Bain, founder of DDBS, and Theo Edmonds, Director of ULCCP, GENXYZ is an intergenerational event investigating the path forward for entrepreneurship in the region across three themes: expanding power for diverse founders, advancing culture towards inclusion, and igniting innovation through university-community-private sector collaboration.

“This event is everything DDBS stands for, business people from all walks of life collaborating to ignite innovation. It’s a known fact that diversity enhances productivity, creativity and success for companies and cities,” said Bain.

“Expanding the entrepreneurial eco-system in our region requires changing our cultural mind-set of what a successful entrepreneur “looks” like. Gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, educational attainment, and age are things that accidentally exclude many from being valued as contributors to our region’s innovation economy. GENXYZ marks a culturally-responsive expansion of economic opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs who are crucial to our region’s future growth,” said Edmonds.

GENXYZ program includes:

·       Welcome by Terrez Marriott Thompson is Vice President of Global Supplier Diversity for The Coca-Cola Company;
·       Insights into the UofL Center for Creative Placehealing’s ongoing work to create a Cultural Wellbeing Index, a new innovation process and predictive metric linking organizational culture with creativity, innovation capacity, employee wellbeing, and market performance;
·       Presentations by GEN Z social innovation teams from Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) who are part of the Aspen Challenge – a program of the Aspen Institute and the Bezos Family Foundation that elevates youth voice to design solutions to critical issues they face in their communities;
·       Lightening Talks exploring the intersection of creativity, social justice and entrepreneurship;
·       Interactive conversation with event headliner ARLAN HAMILTON, founder of Backstage Capital;
·       Deep-dive conversation facilitated by Louisville Magazine’s MATTHEW BARZUN, former United States

Ambassador to the United Kingdom, with a group of national and regional VCs, economic advocacy organizations, accelerator leaders and diverse founders on how our region can support, grow and attract diverse entrepreneurs and innovators who may not currently see Louisville, KY as a viable option for their enterprise development.

Sponsored by Pure Path Capital and The Coca-Cola Company, GENXYZ is being curated with support from Story Louisville, IDEAS xLab and CIVITAS: A Regional LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. The GENXYZ event will be directly followed with a meet and greet reception with CIVITAS founding board and local, national dignitaries and corporate leaders committed to inclusive economy building.

Learn more about Derby Diversity & Business Summit and get your ticket - WEDNESDAY DAY PASS - which provides access to all May 1 Summit Events, including GENXYZ, at


Keep reading to learn more about how Arlan Hamilton and Backstage are making change happen.

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.

Laurel Kemper