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This year, more than 1,200 African American entrepreneurs and executives are expected to attend the Fourth Annual Black Enterprise/Bank of America* Entrepreneurs Conference, which will be held May 5-9 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
This year’s theme, “Achieving Peak Profitability: Structuring Business Alliances to Generate Wealth,” conveys the key issues that will be addressed through this year’s dynamic sessions and workshops, such as business-to-business marketing, exploring global opportunities, preparing your business for the Internet, building wealth, franchising, partnering and much more. Other highlights of the conference include the Kidpreneurs Konference, The Exchange: Business-to-Business Expo and the b.e. Entrepreneurs Awards Gala, which celebrates the achievements of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses (be 100s) and outstanding African American small business entrepreneurs.
The Fourth Annual be Small Business Awards categories include: Emerging Company of the Year, Business Innovator of the Year, Rising Star and Kidpreneur awards.
Emerging Company of the Year Award
This award recognizes businesses that are poised for future growth because they’ve carved out a well-hidden niche for themselves and have adopted creative marketing techniques. Nominees are:
- Interface Teknologies: (See “Customizing Solutions,” Enterprise, this issue) In 1998, Interface Teknologies grew by 200% and is expected to double in size this year. Kevin Nason, CEO, started the $4 million firm in 1994. It provides technology solutions to businesses and specializes in managing IT/IS projects to support its customers’ business goals.
- RGII Technologies: Established in 1990, RGII Technologies provides information technology, systems integration and engineering support services to federal, state and local governments. Kathryn B. Freeland, chairman and chief executive officer, started the $10.3 million firm in the basement of her home. RGII now employes 150.
- Duncan Security Consultants: As a small business owner, Gregory Duncan, CEO and president of Duncan Security Consultants, says he is able to react more quickly to changes in the marketplace and respond more efficiently than a large organization could. As a result, he has been established as the “go to” company for security services for clients such as Arco Products, the Department of the Navy and the Bureau of Prisons. Founded in 1994, his firm had $2.5 million in revenues last year and employs 142. It is a full-service security, investigative and consulting firm that serves corporations and government agencies.
Business Innovator of the Year Award
This award honors companies that have successfully set trends and broken new ground in a particular industry. Nominees are:
- C&C Films Ltd.: Since 1994, C&C Films has grown from a $96,000 to a $4.8 million production company largely due to the keen marketing skills of its founder and president, Steve Conner. The firm creates video projects and offers film and video production services, editorial services and special effects and graphic production. It is one of only a handful of black-owned companies producing national television commercials.
- Paper-plas converting: As president and CEO of Paper-Plas Converting, Donald Snider has successfully found a niche as Michigan’s only minority-owned tier-one paper conversion supplier to clients such as DaimlerChrysler. This past July, his $3 million firm opened a new Midwest facility