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The Voice of the Black Community


National entrepreneurs summit returns to Charlotte
Black Enterprise showcase June 6-9
Published Tuesday, January 30, 2018 8:17 pm
by Daniel J. Watson

Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell, from left, Mayor Vi Lyles, consultant Vanessa Vaughn and Black Enterprise President and CEO Earl Graves Jr. hold an oversized check at a press conference announcing the 23rd annual Entrepreneurs Summit June 6-9. Mitchell presented the check to Vaughn to cover her registration to the summit.

One of the largest gatherings of black entrepreneurs will gather in Charlotte in June.

Black Enterprise executives, city council members and entrepreneurs assembled Tuesday for a press conference at the Park Expo Center to announce plans for the 23rd annual Entrepreneurs Summit June 6-9 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

“The summit will bring more than 1,200 attendees for three days of information sharing, international networking and deal making. We truly believe that this can be the next mecca for African American business development and that’s why we have selected Charlotte,” said Black Enterprise President and CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr.

The entrepreneurs summit intends to create an environment and distinct features that will enable entrepreneurs to gain on-the-spot counseling for their business as well as opportunities to access contracts. The winners of the elevator speech competition will receive capital, counseling and an incubation period in Charlotte. The business hut will be a massive expo area where entrepreneurs can access major corporations and small business contracts. There will also be leading experts providing real-time advice in a business coaching center.

Lu Yarbrough, Nationwide’s associate vice president of enterprise diverse and cause marketing, hailed the longstanding partnership between Black Enterprise and the insurance giant, which has sponsored the summit for eight years.

“You are truly in for a treat,” he said. “This is a summit that if an entrepreneur comes with the right mindset he or she can change the trajectory of their business in their lives that very day.”

The three-day conference, once called an “entrepreneurs conference,” was changed to the entrepreneurs summit because Black Entreprise wants business owners to aim higher.

“We want them to understand what it is that they can be,” Graves said. “This event is not just for current entrepreneurs, but for those aspiring entrepreneurs who are moonlighting. Almost every black person I know is moonlighting at something. We want to turn your passion into a business and this is an opportunity to live that dream.”

It has been a decade since the summit was last held in Charlotte.  

“We’re lucky to have [Black Enterprise] here and we want to show BE and the nation that this is an outstanding climate to promote black entrepreneurship,” said City Council Member James Mitchell, who presented a check of $295 to Vanessa Vaughn to cover her summit registration fee. Vaughn is president of Asfalis, a boutique business resilience consulting firm.

In similar fashion, Lenny Springs, president and chief executive officer of the S-Group, Inc., offered to sponsor five up and coming entrepreneurs.

Although Charlotte has the fourth-fastest growing rate of employment in the country and among the top 10 cities for African Americans to live in, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles knows that there is still much work to be done.  

“We know what economic disparity is and what we have to do is reduce that disparity by having events like this," she said. “Supportive partnership with Black Enterprise can help us all learn how to make systemic changes in how we do business, not only in Charlotte but across the country that will benefit people of color.”


Excellent article. Thanks!

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Posted on January 31, 2018

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