Kinder, Gentler “Shark Tank”-Style Pitch Competition

Watch as three Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program participants pitch their way to glory in front of a diverse panel of capital providers, “Shark Tank” style. These expert practitioners will offer prompt feedback on how to make strategic moves to secure future capital.

Audience members will be the ultimate “Sharks,” voting on which company they’d invest in. There will be cash prizes of $2,000 for 1st place, $1,500 for 2nd, and $1,000 for 3rd!


Meet the Shark Tank Pitchers

Alfonso D’Niscio Brooks is a Speaker, Activist, Social Entrepreneur, African Diaspora Cultural Advisor, Philanthropist, and the Founder of AfriKin

This nonprofit organization creates cultural connections through the power of artistry and conversations for civic and community engagement. He is passionate about social justice, economic reform, and elevating the discourse as it pertains to the global Black community.

Through his work with AfriKin (a fusion of the words “African” and “kinship”), he highlights the roles that art and culture play in human development and enrichment. With the use of cultural programming at workshops and festivals, he presents to the international community a message that focuses on engagement and quality of care, dismantling systems of oppression, rebranding the Black world’s image to allow more strategic partnerships, and renewing the fundamental values of
what makes us human.

Above all, Alfonso is dedicated to advancing the ingenuity and potential of the people of African origin on a global scale by using his voice to bring solutions, challenge the status quo, and promote agency and representation for marginalized communities. He is a firm believer that what we have in common is far greater than what divides us – and using the AfriKin platform, he is facilitating
change that crosses boundaries of race, class, and sexual orientation.

In addition to his roles listed above, he also specializes in marketing and business development, event production and services, tour management, global entertainment and culture strategy, brand development, advocacy, creative marketing consulting, and sound engineering. You can even catch him DJing in and around Miami, New York, or London in his free time.

As a recognized contemporary African and social entrepreneur with experience in the arts and culture business, Alfonso brings a diverse wealth of knowledge and expertise to everything. He has bold pursuits and encourages each of us to find a new way of being and a new manner of seeing. “Remember, the art of a people is the genesis to their freedom. May we never mistake the map for
the territory.”

Lara Goldmark, Founder & CEO, Just Results

Lara Goldmark is the Founder and CEO of Just Results, a company that specializes in the use of data to support inclusive economic growth. Just Results is currently launching ZForm (“one form for everything”), a mobile app that gets rid of government bureaucracy. Lara is an economist with specialization in regulatory reform and digital solutions for government, has published books and articles about microfinance, small enterprise growth, and employment, and taught at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, with basic proficiency in Arabic.

Victoria Brunner, Co-Founder & CEO, FattE-Bikes/EQLX

Victoria Brunner is the Co-Founder & CEO of FattE-Bikes/EQLX. Victoria brings more than two decades of experience in the sustainability and clean tech industry. She has always been at the forefront of the green economy movement, in 2008 she received her MBA with a concentration in sustainable entrepreneurship at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute: one of the first business schools in the country to offer such a degree. She has started multiple social enterprises as well as working for various non profits and green energy companies. She is the first BIPOC and woman founder and CEO of a micro mobility company, and recently received the Colorado Woman’s Good Business Award. FattE-Bikes is also one of the only companies to build their ebikes in the USA and has won awards and recognition for its work including being featured in the Wall Street Journal.

Meet the Gentle Sharks

Don Bravo, Senior Vice President & Senior Relationship Manager, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties in Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Don Bravo is a Senior Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager for the Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties in Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

As a seasoned bi-lingual global commercial banker with over 20 years of experience, Don is considered a trusted advisor to his clients. Together with his team of tenured professionals, he coordinates the client team for proper execution of banking products. Don works to understand a client’s business and proactively provides strategic advice and financial solutions. Don joined Bank of America in 2011 in Miami, FL. He has also previously worked in New York City and Atlanta, GA. He has a solid credit background, as well as an exceptional customer service mentality.

Don has experience banking and lending to many industries, offering the vast array of bank products and services. His typical clients are Creative Entrepreneurs, Manufacturers, Distributors, Professional Firms, Tech Companies, Multinational Companies, and Healthcare Providers just to name a few.Don also strives to give back to the community and has volunteered with various non-for-profit organizations such as The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, The American Heart Association, The United Way, Mount Sinai, Habitat for Humanity, Chapman Partnership, and Feeding South Florida, among others.

A native of Miami, Don graduated from the University of Florida, earning a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the Fisher School of Accounting. He enjoys Wine, Traveling, Food, Sports, Fashion, Business, and spending time with his wife Dr. Catalina Castillo.

Anita Graham, Managing Director, Arctaris Impact Investors

Anita Graham joined Arctaris in 2020 and serves as the Principal – Baltimore Market Manager. She leads the sourcing, due diligence and execution of debt and equity investment opportunities in Baltimore. Anita has over 25 years of experience as a private equity investor and has made direct investments in an array of sectors leading transactions that total in excess of $300 million.

Prior to joining Arctaris, Anita was co-founder and Managing Director of Graham & Associates, a company that assembled and partnered with professionals experienced in assisting management teams in developing processes to meet operational and financial objectives, identifying the appropriate source of capital to support the management team’s goals, and performing internal operational and financial audits to insure that the goals are being met. Previously, Anita served as a General Partner of Opportunity Capital Partners (“OCP”), a minority-owned private equity firm (that also included an SBIC and an SSBIC) with $135 million of capital under management that focused on providing later stage growth equity to companies primarily in the telecommunications, media, industrial services and healthcare industries. Prior to joining OCP, Anita served as the President of Renaissance Capital Corporation, a company that provided equity to small middle market companies in diversified industries.

Anita served on the Advisory Board and was a founding board member of Pacific Community Ventures, a fund with over $40 million of capital under management that targets markets primarily in California. She also served as a board member of the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority which provides financing to small businesses throughout the state of Maryland.

Anita earned a BA in Economics from Cornell University and an Executive MBA from Golden Gate University.

Rana Diedrick, Vice President SBA Loan Specialist, Regions Bank

Rana is a veteran in the SBA Lending industry with over 25 years of experience. She started her career as an Underwriter for the Small Business Administration (SBA) in Sacramento, California where she processed and approved Economic Injury Disaster Loans. She then transitioned into the role of a Business Development Officer with First Union/Wachovia /Wells Fargo banks originating SBA 7a and SBA 504 loans. In her role as a Business Development Officer, she helped thousands of small business owners in many different industries with loans for: acquisitions, expansions, new construction, real estate purchases, franchises, working capital, and export financing.

Rana joined Regions Bank in 2014 as an SBA Loan Specialist. She currently assists borrowers seeking SBA guaranteed loans in Miami -Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. In her role she helps clients to select the best SBA product to meet their needs. She determines program eligibility, performs cursory cash flow and collateral analysis to determine repayment ability. She guides borrowers throughout the entire loan process from application to funding to ensure project timelines are met.

Rana earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from California State University Sacramento. She holds a NAGGL (National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders) certification. Rana is a current member of the Florida Association of Guaranteed Lenders (FLAGGL) and an affiliate member of Greater Fort Lauderdale Commercial Realtors Alliance.

Steve Hall, Vice President, Small Business Lending, LISC

Steve Hall joined LISC in 2017 and has over 20 years of industry experience. Steve currently serves as The Vice President of Small Business and Economic Development Lending where he leads and expands all corporate relations, small business engagement, and Economic Development Lending strategies for LISC. For the past decade he has been specifically focused on small business lending, banking and social impact.

Prior to joining LISC, Steve served as an Executive at Charter One Bank in the Business Banking division and as a Social Impact Leader at Accion Chicago.

Steve brings years of executive experience in evaluating, researching, and engaging small businesses on growth strategies, social impact, and labor inclusion. His background includes a vast network of corporate peers and philanthropic investment partners across the nation.

Civically, he is a constant voice of support for African American and Minority businesses causes–particularly those affecting low-to moderate-income communities. Steve holds a BBA from Florida A&M University (FAMU) and completed an Executive Education Program for Financial Inclusion –Social Enterprise Initiative at Harvard Business School.

Kevin Prokop, Managing Partner, Rockbridge Growth Equity (Moderator)

Kevin Prokop is Managing Partner of Rockbridge Growth Equity, which he co-founded with Dan Gilbert and Brian Hermelin. Rockbridge manages more than $1 billion of invested capital and is affiliated with the Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT), Quicken Loans and the Quicken Loans family of companies.

Kevin has served and continues to serve on several Boards of private and publicly-traded companies, including the Board of Directors for Northcentral University, Connect America, Purchasing Power, Triad Retail Media, Gas Station TV (GSTV), ABUV Media, Robb Report, Kings III of America, White Glove Marketing, Quartile Digital and ProSites Digital.

Kevin was formerly a Managing Director at Questor Partners Fund, a $1.1 billion private equity firm. Prior to Questor, Kevin was an engagement manager with the strategy consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

Kevin has received Buyouts magazine’s “Turnaround of the Year” award, which is presented annually to the private equity sponsor that engineered the year’s most dramatic turnaround. He has also written numerous articles on business strategy, private equity and public policy issues.

Kevin is Vice Chairman of New Detroit, Chairman of Teach for America Detroit, and a member of Teach for America’s National Leadership Council. Kevin was appointed by Michigan’s State Legislature to be Co-Chairman of the State of Michigan’s Commission on Governmental Efficiency, a private sector commission established to make recommendations to address the state’s fiscal health. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Citizens Research Council, a non-partisan public policy research organization, and has been involved with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

Kevin earned his MBA from the University of Chicago, where he graduated summa cum laude and top of his class with a perfect grade point average. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where he graduated with distinction.

Kevin lives in suburban Detroit, Michigan with his wife and their three children.


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