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Charlotte Small Business Week kicks off
Chef Jeff Henderson to keynote conference
Published Wednesday, May 8, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

Charlotte Small Business Week kicks off May 14 with the 2013 Small Business Week Conference hosted by the Charlotte Business Resource Consortium at Central Piedmont Community College’s Harris Conference Center.

“Eighty percent of the jobs in our area are tied to small business,” Mayor Anthony Foxx said. “So when we celebrate and brand ourselves as a small business community, we are helping to build the economy. During this week we are going to have a variety of events that are going to highlight, promote and brand our small businesses in this area.”

This year’s keynote speaker is Jeff Henderson, an award-winning chef, television personality and New York Times best-selling author.

Henderson, also known as Chef Jeff, is a highly sought-after motivational speaker with an innate ability to captivate and inspire audiences with his story of change and power of potential. He grew up on the tough streets of Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood and San Diego, and by the time he was 19 was running a $35,000-a-week drug operation.

At age 24, he was arrested and spent the next decade in prison. During his incarceration, Henderson discovered a passion for cooking and committed himself to turning his life around.

Henderson went on to become executive chef at the prestigious Café Bellagio in Las Vegas. He also hosted his own show on the Food Network. “The Chef Jeff Project” featured Henderson putting six at-risk young adults to work with his catering company, Posh Urban Cuisine, and helping them turn their lives around.

In 2012, Henderson was named among Grio’s 100: History Makers in the Making, a list that honors African Americans for making positive contributions in shaping the futures of others. His latest television show, “Beat the Chefs,” premiered in August on the Game Show Network.
During his keynote speech, Henderson will likely use his “reality-based education” to encourage entrepreneurs to take charge of their lives and not use their circumstances as excuses to not fulfill their dreams.

Small Business Week is a time of celebrating contributions to the local community. It also provides opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs to connect with each other and learn new strategies.

In addition to Henderson’s keynote speech, Foxx and CPCC President Tony Zeiss will deliver opening remarks. Other speakers and panelists include Samaritan’s Feet International founder Emmanuel “Manny” Ohonme and Robin Emmons of Sow Much Good.

Several other events will be held during Small Business Week, including the Cabarrus County Small Business Week Resource Fair on May 15; the Power Up Challenge and chance to win $25,000 hosted by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce (May 16); the Business Wellness Workshop hosted by The Employers Association (May 17); the 28th Annual Women Business Owners Awards Gala hosted by the National Association of Women Business Owners (May 17) and the Small Business Success Luncheon and Business Pitch Competition hosted by Pride Magazine (May 20).

The 16th annual Mayor’s International Entrepreneur Awards hosted by the Charlotte International Cabinet will be held at the Westin Charlotte on May 22. This event honors and recognizes many of Mecklenburg County’s foreign-owned firms for their philanthropic contributions and other forms of support to the community.

The observance of Small Business Week will culminate with the second annual Crowns of Enterprise Awards at the Palmer Building on May 23. Elected officials will recognize winners for Small Business Enterprise of the Year, Minority Business Enterprise of the Year and Women Business Enterprise of the Year.

Visit www.charlottesmallbusinessweek.com for more details about Charlotte Small Business Week or event registration.


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