Building Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems in Indianapolis and Beyond
Driving innovation through diversity and inclusion, because everyone deserves a seat at the table.
What is INNOPOWER?
INNOPOWER INDY is a new 2-day conference deliberately designed to embrace the diversity of Indianapolis, while engaging the brightest minds from the best companies across our city, our state and other parts of the world. The event will bring together partners, investors, future advocates, and entrepreneurs for two full days of keynote sessions, panel discussions, interactive workshops and pitch competitions.
INNOPOWER is deliberately designed to highlight the innovations in minority communities, create opportunities for capacity building, and leverage external financing and networks. It creates a platform for creative thought and innovative entrepreneurialism, while embracing the diversity of communities most closely impacted.
INNOPOWER will ignite conversations leading to action steps that foster community engagement and inclusive innovative solutions in Agriculture, Sports & Entertainment, Health Care, Technology, and Education.
Indianapolis is the economic engine that drives Indiana. According to The Brookings Institution's 2018 report Advancing Opportunity in Central Indiana, “Growth, prosperity, and inclusion are complementary, not contradictory goals for meaningful economic development.” However, Indiana’s potential for sustainable growth must be inclusive of varied experiences, diverse cultures, thought and socio-economic input.
INNOPOWER is partnering with Indiana Black Expo (IBE) to expand their services and offerings for small, minority and underrepresented businesses during IBE’s 2019 Summer Celebration event.
Meet the INNOPOWER Team
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Emil Ekiyor attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando where he was a two-time captain on the football team. After an outstanding college career, Emil went on to play six years in the National Football League with the Tampa Bay Bucs, Atlanta Falcons, and Oakland Raiders.
Emil is the National Executive Director for the GEO Foundation a nonprofit organization that partners with local community leaders to start, support, and manage high-quality K-12 charter schools across the US. Emil is also founder and CEO of Enabek Solutions a client-focused community development consulting firm that works with individuals and organizations in the US and Sub-saharan Africa to navigate through the challenges of realizing their vision for social change.
In his free time, Emil serves as the President of the Indianapolis Chapter of Indiana Black Expo, President of Indy Youth Sports, VP of the NFL Former Players Indianapolis Chapter, Indianapolis Prayer Breakfast Leadership Team and Board of Directors for the Jameson Camp.
Jamal Smith is founder of The Lead Change Project (LCP); a non-profit 501(c)(3) that partners with urban schools to engage more students in sport and extra-curricular activity. In conjunction with his role as LCP Founder, Jamal serves as Director of Strategic Partnerships for Indiana University Health. Prior to founding The Lead Change Project, Jamal served the State of Indiana as Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission; transitioning from his role as Governor Mitch Daniels’ Senior Advisor.
Over the past 13-years, Jamal’s professional experiences have included government affairs, marketing & business development, event management, as well as community engagement. He has managed teams of professionals, overseen budgets of more than $100 million, and led recruitment campaigns resulting in increases of more than 300%.
Jamal is recognized as a leader professionally as well as throughout the community. His board appointments include: Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, Purdue Polytechnic High School, and the Boy Scouts of America. Mr. Smith was also appointed by the Mayor of Indianapolis to Co-Chair the Your Life Matters (YLM) Taskforce initiative; an initiative aimed at identifying impediments to success for young people. Jamal received Indiana Sports Corp’s, Reverend Charles Williams Award, in recognition of his “Outstanding Service to Youth” and was also appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels to serve as Chair of the Governor’s Commission on Minority and Women Business Enterprises. In 2015, the Fathers and Families Center presented Jamal with the Heart of a Father Award, and in January 2016, Governor Mike Pence presented Mr. Smith with the Sagamore of the Wabash – one of the highest honors the Governor of Indiana bestows.
Jamal graduated from Wright State University in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in History. His undergraduate tenure includes a successful career as an intercollegiate basketball player. As a student athlete, Jamal has received many awards and much recognition for his performances on the court as well as in the classroom. Mr. Smith went on to continue his education at Purdue University where he graduated in 2002 with an MS Degree in Sports Management & Athletic Administration.
Berthran Ugeh is the CEO of Tendy LLC, a US based consulting firm offering hands-on market entry and business development services for US based companies in various sectors including Technology, Defense, Energy, Agribusiness and Infrastructure. He also serves as a non-executive board member of Tendy Group.
Prior to joining Tendy, he was an Assistant Director at Columbia University in New York and a Senior Project Manager at The Resource Group (TRG), a Washington DC based strategic equity firm investing and building innovative software and IT-enabled service companies.
He is a passionate advocate of building strong private and public institutions in the US and abroad. He sits on the board of African Roots Pty, a South African based company, He is also the chair for the IMC’s Global Village sustainability committee in Indiana. He is a member of various executive networks which include The Africa CEO Network, The African Leadership Network and the Harvard Business School Executive Education
Berthran holds a Masters degree in Applied Information Technology with honors, a post graduate degree in Management Information Systems from Towson University and an Executive Education certificate from the Harvard Business School. He also holds a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and in Mathematics.
Innovator. Marketer. Network builder. Jason Williams is a curious explorer whose purpose is to drive innovation through capacity-building connections.
Jason was Executive Director of Centric from 2016-2019 where he led the organization's efforts to connect, educate and celebrate Indiana's innovation community. As Executive Director, he had a front row seat to the common challenges and popular solutions shared by leaders and organizations across many different industries and sectors.
Prior to joining Centric, Jason spent more than a decade as the US Marketing Director for Keter Plastic, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of resin-based household and garden consumer products, working directly with some of the largest retailers in the world.
A graduate of Butler University, Jason is extremely active in Indiana’s innovation and entrepreneurship communities and is a member of the Hive Global Leaders network.