The duo behind a popular Bronx-based podcast is bringing back a gathering of creative and entrepreneurial minds in the borough.
The Bronx Summit was created by Jason Acosta and Kevin Brooks, who host Live From The Bronx, a podcast that highlights creatives and change makers of color. The podcast kicked off in 2020, and after a few years of interviewing individuals in creative fields, Acosta and Brooks wanted to find a way to bring creatives and entrepreneurs into the same space.
“We realized that there are some people who are not necessarily gonna listen to a podcast, but they might want to be an entrepreneur, they might want to learn more about how to get into the creative space. We needed to bring these people together,” said Brooks. “We had a really amazing network of creatives and entrepreneurs, of people from the doing really exciting things. So at that point, we were like, how can we bring all of these people together?”
“We have an intentional focus with the podcast of elevating the story of creating the shape makers in the Bronx because of wanting to shift the narrative and some of the negative reputation of the borough,” said Acosta. “When we grew up, we don’t always have the chance to meet people and learn from the people who are doing such amazing work in a creative space, whether that be fashion, tech, or film, you don’t always get a chance to learn from them. And that’s what we’re doing with this summer is bridging that gap.”
The first Bronx Summit took place in May 2022, and it was an instant hit. After careful planning and finding a bigger venue to host it again, Acosta and Brooks arranged for the next Bronx Summit to take place this month on Sept. 23 at the Andrew Freeman home.
The summit will feature a lineup of experts from different fields, including tech, fashion, healthcare, film and media, with a special nod to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. There will be over 25 different speakers in attendance, as well as panels for guests to learn from, including a women-owned business panel and a media panel, and a business pitch competition where small businesses can win money for their business from the summit sponsors. There will also be plenty of networking opportunities and a variety of vendors to explore throughout the summit.
“[Attendees are] working in community building that’s gonna take place just organically from being in this space. There is exposure and access, an opportunity for you to learn about not just the people on the panels, but the other vendors that are small businesses in the Bronx,” said Acosta. “There’s the opportunity for you to see a live business pitch competition, and with that we’re able to actually provide safe funding to startups and we don’t see that a lot in the Bronx.”
“One of the biggest things about the summit is all of the folks who are on our panels are all people of color who have a connection to the Bronx, which is huge for us,” said Brooks. “So for me, that’s definitely something that one of my favorite things about the people, seeing representation, seeing people that look like them, people doing really dope and dynamic things.”
Brooks and Acosta hope that those who attend this year’s Bronx Summit will be able to make lasting connections with people in their chosen industry while also being able to see what great stuff can come out of the Bronx.
“I think it’s just an investment in our community, this has not existed for all the years that I lived in the Bronx,” said Acosta. “We know that by being able to make something like this happen, we’re not only supporting the arts but also investing in our community.”
“It’s an event that if you are from the Bronx or want to learn about the Bronx or have any type of love for the Bronx, it’s an event you should come to. If you’re an entrepreneur, it makes a lot of sense. If you’re not an entrepreneur and you’re any type of creative, definitely pull up. If you just want to be around dope people, pull up,” said Brooks. “The first year we did this, you could just feel the joy and the positivity, and we sometimes say there’s Bronx energy in the building, so there’ll definitely be more of that.”
The second annual Bronx Summit will take place on Sept. 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Andrew Freeman Home, located at 1125 Grand Concourse in the Bronx. To purchase tickets, which start at $35, to the Bronx Summit, visit Eventbrite.com. For more information about Live From the Bronx, visit livefromthebronx.