This interview is part of the “Meet The E3 Durham Team” series, where we’ll give you a front row seat into E3 Durham from the perspective of the people at the forefront. Read more about E3 Durham here.
Deryle Daniels, Jr.
Senior Manager of Narrative Change
Q: Tell us a bit about you and your role in the E3 Durham program and Durham community.
A: I am responsible for capturing photographic and video footage of the monthly Pull Up at Provident events.
Q: What is your or your organization's deeper why that inspires you to do what you do?
A: For me, I understand that Black economic autonomy and collective wealth-building are essential components to ending the dominant narrative that is juxtaposed to the truth that, at a point in recent history, Black communities across this country were self-sufficient and thriving. I believe that Forward Cities is a tool that can be mobilized to help that goal become a reality once again.
Q: What is most important to you as we come together to create a more diverse, equitable, and innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem in Durham?
A: Providing a form of restoration and restitution that is Black-led. Too often, we think being invited to white-led tables is equity but, if anything, it is simply representation. Creating spaces in Durham where we are the ones doing the inviting is truly putting the power back in the Black community. Anything shy of that, at best, borders on performative.
Q: Can you share a story about something within the Durham entrepreneurial ecosystem that you have found deeply inspiring or motivating?
A: Growing up here, I have had one on one conversations with elder members of the families who led Durham’s original Black Wall Street. Whether it was at my home church on Sunday or at a community forum at Hayti Heritage Center, they always provided me with a perspective of what is possible when we uplift one another instead of being reliant on outward communities. Sure, we can partner with others, but reliance on entities whose intention was to exploit and oppress Black people is what led to the challenges that we are combatting today.
Q: Do you have any advice to offer current or aspiring small business owners?
A: As my business coach tells me in each of our sessions, the branding and marketing are nice but you have to do the reps that will bring the business in the door. Do those uncomfortable things that aren’t fun but are necessary, such as reaching out to potential clients or auditing your mailing list.
Funded in part through a Grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.