Get Ready! The 22nd Annual Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit Comes to Houston

ABOVE: Patti LaBelle

Attention Business Owners:

Houston will definitely be the place to be this Wednesday, May 17 through Saturday, May 20, as Black Enterprise presents its 2017 Entrepreneurs Summit hosted by Nationwide at the Marriott Marquis Houston, featuring a powerhouse lineup of some of the nation’s most accomplished and celebrated entrepreneurs and motivational speakers. Patti LaBelle; singer, author, actress, and entrepreneur/founder of Patti Pies, will join author, entrepreneur and actor Hill Harper; and gospel singer, record producer, radio personality and entrepreneur Yolanda Adams; along with many more as keynote speakers at the 2017 Entrepreneurs Summit.

The summit is one of the nation’s largest gatherings of entrepreneurs attended by more than 1,000 business leaders. This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, and this year’s summit highlights include the celebration and awards ceremony honoring the 45th anniversary of the BE 100s—the annual ranking of the nation’s largest Black businesses with combined revenues over $40 billion.

                                                                Hank Aaron

“Nationwide is committed to supporting minority businesses and diverse communities. One way we demonstrate our commitment is through our relationship with Black Enterprise,” said Terrance Williams, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Nationwide. “We’re proud to be the presenting sponsor of this year’s Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit and look forward to connecting with the attendees—some of the most passionate people and brightest minds there are.”

Each year, small business owners and entrepreneurs from all over the country gather to take in advice from strategic, motivational, and leadership sessions designed to benefit emerging and established minority businesses. These four days will be spent under the advisement of experts and professionals who are looking to help you help yourself on your quest for entrepreneurial success.

One of the premier annual highlights at the Summit is the presentation of the nation’s top awards for African American business achievement and community involvement. The Black Enterprise A.G. Gaston Award will be presented to MLB Hall OF Famer, entrepreneur and humanitarian, Hank Aaron; and the Corporate Champion Award will be presented to civil rights leader and attorney, Vernon Jordan, at the BE 100S Gala on Friday, May 19th. These awards recognize the outstanding achievement of individuals who have had broad and positive impact on his or her industry as well as the community at large, while serving as a champion of entrepreneurship and business growth, employment opportunities, and wealth creation for African Americans.

The summit also boasts high-powered sessions on critical business topics such as “Business Coaching: Crafting Your Game Plan,” “BE Talk: Innovation and Funding,” “Fundraising from Startup to Scale Up in the Tech Space,” “Spotting Trends and Opportunities in Tech,” and “Seizing Opportunities in Franchising,” just to name a few.

For the aspiring entrepreneur, Equity Date with an Angel offers practical advice on how to acquire funding for your business. Plus, the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition will award $10,000 for the best new business idea. The ABC Shark Tank Diversity Tour will also be holding an open casting call to identify entrepreneurs ready to pitch their ideas for an investment on the hit business reality show.

                                                                   Hill Harper

More of what attendees can expect includes attending the Billion Dollar Roundtable, where attendees will learn best practices and strategies from corporate brands that are spending at least $1 billion annually with minority entrepreneurs. Attendees will be able to make solid connections at The Exchange, which is like a job fair, #BuyBlack expo, and business exhibitors paradise all rolled into one, where attendees can gain insights from some of the country’s most forward-thinking entrepreneurs as they share strategies and solutions. During “Black Money Matters,” author and journalist Ramon Ray will lead a candid conversation with One United Bank CEO Teri Williams on the “bank Black” movement that has swept the country thanks to national attention led by rapper Killer Mike. During the “BE Modern Man—Serving Black Men” discussion, attendees will learn from Hammer & Nails Salon CEO Michael Elliott and other entrepreneurs about how you can concentrate a business on a male audience and deliver the right product to meet their needs. Attendees will learn about franchising opportunities from thousands of brand concepts that will be available for discussion and where attendees will learn how to find the right franchise to match their passion, skills, and financial resources. Lastly, attendees will be able to take part in the Certification Lab, where they can gain a greater understanding of the certification process in their pursuit of public/government contracting and procurement opportunities, while also receiving One-on-One Business Coaching, where entrepreneurs can get the exclusive attention their business so deserves.

Other confirmed speakers at the summit include: Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston; Charles Koch, Chairman & CEO, Koch Industries; Johnny C. Taylor Jr., President & CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Clyde Drexler, NBA Hall of Famer, Drexler Holdings L.L.C.; Kase Lawal, Chairman, CAMAC International Corp. and Vice Chairman, Unity National Bank; Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, Windsor Village United Methodist Church; Brandon Andrews, Senior Consultant, Values Partnership and Casting, Shark Tank and Steve Harvey’s Funderdome; Bonin Bough, Host, Cleveland Hustles, CNBC; Charles King, Founder & CEO, MACRO; Lisa Ascolese, Founder, Inventing A to Z; Tye Caldwell, Co-Founder, ShearShare; Courtney Caldwell, Co-Founder, ShearShare; Donna Sims Wilson, President, Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors, L.P.; Hahna Alexander, CEO, SolePower L.L.C.; Jason Few, Investor, Energy Projects; Sulaiman “Su” Sanni, Co-Founder & CEO, WeDidIt; Teri Williams, President & COO, OneUnited Bank; Melinda Emerson, Author, Host, #SmallBizChat; Zakiya Larry, Author, Founder and CEO, Quest Media Training; Lamar Tyler, CEO, Tyler New Media; Creator BlackandMarriedWithKids.com; Gilbert Campbell, Co-Founder & CEO, Volt Energy; Ramon Ray, Entrepreneur, Author, CEO, Smart Hustle Magazine; Michael Elliot, Founder & CEO, Hammer and Nails Salon Group; Stephen Hightower, CEO, Hightowers Petroleum; Deavra Daughtry, President and CEO, Excellent Care Management; Kelley Taylor, CEO, Taylor Construction Management; Jonathan Sprinkles, Connection Coach, Author of Presentation Power; and many more.

                                                            Kase Lawal

The 2017 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit is hosted by Nationwide, with presenting sponsors, AT&T, Georgia Pacific, Koch Industries and Toyota; platinum sponsors American Express, Walmart; corporate sponsors FedEx, HoustonFirst Corp., and Houston Metro Airport; Strategic partners BBVA Compass and Port of Houston.

For updates, follow the 2017 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit page on Facebook and search the #BESummit hashtag on Twitter.

                                                             Yolanda Adams