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Minority entrepreneurs pitch ideas at 'Shark Tank'-style event

Daniel J. Lloyd, founder and president of Minority

Daniel J. Lloyd, founder and president of Minority Millennials, speaks during a pitch night for minority entrepreneurs at LaunchPad Huntington Thursday night. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

LaunchPad Huntington, a co-working space for startups, played host Thursday night to the space’s first “Shark Tank” style pitch night for minority entrepreneurs.

The event, a collaborative initiative between non-profit advocacy group Minority Millennials Inc., the Workforce Development Institute and the co-working facility, featured presentations by six local startups hoping to receive feedback on their new enterprises from a panel of judges. Officials with LaunchPad said the event was one of their best attended pitch night events to date.

“It’s obviously way overdue,” said Phil Rugile, director of LaunchPad Huntington and head of recruiting for eGifter.

Participating presenters included Common Connect, a location-based social networking application aimed at professionals and recruiters; Colored Colors, an event organizing company that seeks to build relationships between local minority artists and local businesses through regular art showcases; and Lingually, an iOS app that connects users in need of language translation services with multilingual individuals in their area.

Daniel J. Lloyd, founder and president of Minority Millennials, said while his group was launched last year with the goal of fostering greater involvement of young minorities in the shaping of public policy in Long Island communities, the impact of entrepreneurship to that end can’t be ignored.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re providing economic input,” Lloyd said, adding that efforts like the pitch night are an important way to provide greater representation of minority business owners in the community. “We are looking to get more representation for the future,” he said.

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