Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Hear about the opportunities and challenges of Black entrepreneurship at MinnPost Festival

Today, we’re spotlighting one of our featured panels sessions, Black Entrepreneurship in Minnesota, sponsored by Clockwork.

Houston White Jr., Anissa Keyes, Sen. Tina Smith, and Sheletta Brundidge.

On Sept. 22-23, MinnPost Festival will bring can’t-miss conversations with national and local guests exploring a range of issues surrounding civic life in this moment.

Today, we’re spotlighting one of our featured panels sessions, Black Entrepreneurship in Minnesota, sponsored by Clockwork. Black entrepreneurs face distinct challenges accessing capital and launching businesses. This discussion brings together ground-level experience and policy-making to explore these challenges and the potential of this important part of the Minnesota economy.

This session will feature Sen. Tina Smith, entrepreneur and designer Houston White Jr. and entrepreneur and therapist Anissa Keyes and will be moderated by business owner, comedian and author Sheletta Brundidge.

Since coming to the Senate in 2018, U.S. Senator Tina Smith has been a fierce advocate for the people and communities across Minnesota. With more than 50 bills and provisions signed into law, her successful bipartisan legislative record has benefited the state’s working families, farmers, veterans, health care professionals, businesses and Tribal communities. As a member of the many committees, Senator Smith has worked on legislation to end discrimination by financial institutions, led a hearing on expanding economic development for underserved communities and hosted a panel on building Black wealth.

Article continues after advertisement

Houston White Jr. is the founder of Houston White goods and gathering spaces, The Get Down Coffee Company, the Be The Change golf tournament, Camdentown Flats and many other ventures. As an entrepreneur, designer, advisor, speaker and community leader, Houston is dedicated to moving us forward through creative acts of cultural collision. In 2007, Houston founded Houston White Men’s Room, a barbershop in the Camdentown neighborhood of North Minneapolis, which quickly transformed into a mecca for the inclusive celebration of Black culture, human excellence and the power of community at its best.

Anissa Keyes is the President of Arubah Emotional Health Services, a community mental health clinic. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Yoga instructor. Her business provides support to over 860 individuals and families a year. Anissa began to purchase residential and commercial real estate to expand her mental health business and eventually to provide brick and mortar to other small black owned businesses.

Sheletta Brundidge is the founder and Boss Lady of, an online podcasting company that provides culturally competent commercial production. Sheletta is an Emmy award winning comedian, radio host, television anchor and newspaper columnist. With her podcast shows, social activism and best selling autism children’s books, Sheletta is living up to her reputation as a change maker.

This panel is on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 9:30 a.m. and is one of the free sessions available to all passholders. Thank you to Clockwork for sponsoring this session!

Festival Passes

To get access to Black Entrepreneurship in Minnesota, sponsored by Clockwork, reserve a free or paid Festival pass now! Free Passes get you access to a select number of free sessions, while paid All-Access Passes get you first-come-first-served access to all of our panels on Saturday, Sept. 23 AND the keynote session with Samantha Bee on Friday night. All-Access Festival Passes are $85, with discounts available for MinnPost members, students, educators and nonprofit & government professionals.

To be eligible for the MinnPost member discount, become a member today. (If you’re already a member and need the discount code, email us at

No matter how you register, you’re supporting MinnPost’s nonprofit newsroom and keeping our in-depth local coverage freely available to our community — no paywall, no subscriptions.

Article continues after advertisement

We’re still adding guests to the lineup, but in addition to Sen. Tina Smith, Houston White Jr., Anissa Keyes and Sheletta Brundidge, we have confirmed so far:

  • Samantha Bee, television host, comedian and commentator (paid session)
  • Gov. Tim Walz, 41st governor of Minnesota (free session)
  • Yia Vang, chef and owner of Union Hmong Kitchen (paid session)
  • Jorge Guzmán, chef and owner of Petite León (paid session)
  • Stephanie March, senior editor of food & dining for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine (paid session)
  • Nancy Lyons, CEO & co-founder of Clockwork (paid session)
  • Chuck Marohn, author, land-use planner and founder/president of Strong Towns (paid session)
  • Dan Mallin, founder and CEO of Lucy.AI (paid session)

We hope you’ll join us for this year’s edition of MinnPost Festival. Be sure to watch for more additions to the lineup and check out all the details at


Thanks to our Festival Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

Promoting Sponsors


In-Kind Sponsors