Minority Entrepreneurship

A dime to a dollar. That’s the gap between the median net worth of an Black American family ($17,000) and a white American family ($170,000). 1 in 5 Black families have zero or negative net worth–twice the rate of white families. Today in America, Black entrepreneurs access less than 2% of venture capital. Commonwealth is privileged to operate the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute (MEI) on behalf of NFL Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith to help close the wealth gap in America by accelerating high-growth entrepreneurship and impact investing.

Commonwealth is launching MEI Capital Fund I to invest in promising, high-growth minority founders. MEI Capital Fund I is targeted to be a $25 million fund and will launch in Q4-2023. 

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Jaylon Smith is a Pro Bowl linebacker and active investor in the private markets. He founded MEI Capital as his purpose beyond athletics—to close the wealth gap in America by investing in minority entrepreneurs.


In July 2021, MEI and Commonwealth hosted the third annual MEI Pitch Competition and Showcase, in which five amazing Florida-based entrepreneurs pitched their companies to a panel of judges for a change at $350,000 of investment capital. 


In November 2021, the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute held the Indiana Investor Forum. Hosted by High Alpha Venture Studio, the forum convened investors and community leaders focused on closing Indiana’s wealth gap through entrepreneurship and impact investing.


On July 10, 2020, Commonwealth co-hosted the MEI Texas Showcase featuring: $600,000 in impact investing capital, 147 minority entrepreneurs competing from 42 Texas cities, and 30+ companies qualifying for the MEI Texas Marketplace totaling over $13 million in deal flow.

MEI Indiana Showcase 2019

On July 12, 2019 MEI and Commonwealth held a pitch competition in Fort Wayne, showcasing some of Indiana’s brightest minority entrepreneurs. The event featured $195,000 in investment capital and 4 sharks, including Jaylon Smith, Mark Music, Jane DeHaven, and Gary Brackett.

Commonwealth’s think tank partner, Sagamore Institute, produces research and consulting services to advance innovative ideas, strengthen social enterprise and create leading measures to evaluate social impact.