Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit 2018 - Day 1 Full
BE is officially in the QC! And on day one of the Entrepreneurs Summit presented by Nationwide, we proudly welcomed 1,200 entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals to the event in downtown Charlotte.
In the first hour of the summit, we kicked off the afternoon with the ultimate speed networking session with Social Entrepreneur, Founder of Smart Hustle Magazine, and host for the Summit Ramon Ray. Hundreds of entrepreneurs and small business owners filled the Charlotte Convention Center for an hour of intentional networking. Within moments of being in the room, attendees were on their feet introducing themselves and sharing what they do for a living. And shortly after, they broke out into small groups where they offered one another business advice and shared marketing strategies in an effort to give as they connected. Countless connections in the spirit of this year’s theme: build, connect, elevate.
Later in the evening, attendees were welcomed to the city by Kevin S. Dick, economic development director at City of Charlotte, who spearheaded the steering committee for the event. After his warm welcome, he introduced Derek T. Dingle, SVP and chief content officer at Black Enterprise; Charlotte Mayor Vi Alexander Lyles; and Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin for a fireside chat on doing business in the Carolinas. During their time on stage, the leaders discussed matters from government contracting to smart cities. And they both spoke candidly about the initiatives in their cities and opportunities for minority-owned businesses in their respective cities.
And when it comes to engaging minority businesses in Charlotte, Mayor Lyles says, “In our community, I’ve found that minority businesses have several alliances that they have formed. And they insert themselves in the process.” That allows her to go the private sector to advocate for them. What’s key for Mayor Benjamin as he secures more opportunities for small business is access and transparency. “We try to make sure that we reach throughout our economic spectrum,” says Benjamin. And that is why he says that he has been intentional about forming partnerships for the betterment of all parties involved when doing business.
Throughout the conversation, entrepreneurs sat on the edge of their seats listening and taking notes.
As the night proceeded with priceless information, Lu Yarborough III, vice president of Diverse & Cause Marketing at Nationwide, shared remarks with attendees on behalf of the host sponsor.
And the moment everyone was waiting for in anticipation finally arrived! President & CEO of BLACK ENTERPRISE, Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. took the stage to greet the crowd with enthusiasm and introduce and welcome Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, for a thought-provoking conversation on his journey as an entrepreneur and businessman.