NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Black entrepreneurs will take over downtown Norfolk for Black Diamond Weekend, beginning Thursday and extending through Saturday.

The three-day businesses conference offers 50 different sessions. The sessions are split into different tracks, including Women Who Lead, Black Forbes List, Commerce Street, Impactology and The Art of Possible.

The courses include information on budgeting, real estate, cryptocurrency, the cannabis industry and Black art creatives.

Blair Durham, the president of Black BRAND, wants to help keep minority owners in business.

“There are thousands of Black-owned businesses in Hampton Roads,” Durham said. “We are underrepresented if you compared to the percentage of the population that is Black.”

“When you look at the data by year three, most of the businesses don’t exist. If we could help businesses get over that hump by providing access to knowledge. What a difference that would make in Hampton Roads! I think we’ll see more job creation and more entrepreneurship. That’s why we exist! We want to see those businesses succeed.”

Black Diamond Weekend is celebrating its seventh year assisting business owners, students, and retirees.

“Often times we start with just a passion, and we have no idea how we can translate that into a business.”

Last week, Virginia Beach native and music icon Pharrell Williams hosted the Mighty Dream Forum. Through Williams’ Black Ambition foundation, 31 different Black and Latino entrepreneurs received $2.5 million

“The time is now! We’re seeing so much philanthropic, government, [and] corporate support behind all things Black entrepreneurship. For him to do something like this, it really just elevates and amplifies the work that we’re doing in Hampton Roads!”

“Partnering very closely with Mighty Dream Forum and the timing of that three-day event relative to ours,” Durham said. “Now for those that are in business day to day. We’re providing some actionable steps through this conference that they can take with them into what they are looking to build in 2023.”

Black BRAND awarded three owners $4,000 grants during the PitchBLACK competition. This Friday there is another competition.”PitchBLACK part two is laser focused on tech entrepreneurs.”

Two tech businesses will receive a $6,500 grant.

Those who complete the sessions will receive continuing education credits and a certificate of entrepreneurship from Tidewater Community College.

The conference will also end with the Diamond University commencement ceremony at Roper Performing Arts Center.

“Attendees get more than just the value of being there! For those that need those certificates, they are able to get them through attending this conference.”