Philly entrepreneur hosts small business basketball tournament

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "A lot of people get discouraged in the city, like you would never be enough or just becoming a product of the environment," said Tari Wright. "So, any way we can switch that up. I think this is the perfect way."

Wright says he used to spend too much time worrying he could only do wrong.

"I had no confidence in myself, especially being like a black man in Philadelphia," he said. "Like, we don't get that push, we don't get that support. So just like, I always thought I was gonna fail."

Despite this, Wright looked to his daughter, who has autism, for inspiration.

"She was always going to be told that she was not going to be right," he said. "And Wright is my last name. So I told her to own it."

Thus, he embraced the wordplay and created "Not Wright Brand LLC," to push back against the stigma. Today, he sells basketballs, shorts, socks, and a special travel bag.

Wright credits a chance meeting with Roneece Dent at a pop-up event that caused his entrepreneurial spirit to spark.

"We connected instantly," said Wright. "She gave me the confidence to push myself and keep going."

Dent started her own small business, Rebel Drops Hair Care, during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also makes a habit out of searching for local vendors when making routine purchases.

"I think we should support local business," she said. "So this way, we're helping boost our economy back to a place where Philadelphia needs to be."

Dent and Wright put their brains together to create a basketball tournament to emulate the same type of pop-up networking environment to help other local businesses get a boost.

"We invited a bunch of small businesses and black-owned businesses to encourage people to come out and play the game of basketball and also promote their brand and support the community and environment in a positive way," said Wright.

One of the vendors who propped up a booth was Kelli Gray-Webb, who created Kelli & The Juice Krew also during the pandemic.

"When you come to a small business, you're helping us grow," she said.

Gray-Webb spends many sleepless nights curating fresh juice drinks out of her home.

"Hoping for the future, I can get off the ground," she said. "I can have my own storefront and just continue to give back to the community."

These local entrepreneurs hope that their event inspired connections that will build even more small business opportunities in Philadelphia.

"If you got a plan, you got an idea, do it," said Wright. "Bust down them doors and make it happen."

RELATED: Basketball tournament scores books for patients at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children

EMBED More News Videos

It's a heated competition on the court, but the real goal for these basketball players is to donate books to children in need.

Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.