As a growing number of people are motivated to start their own businesses, it’s no wonder so many people turned out for the Black Enterprise 16th Annual Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted by Nationwide in Atlanta. More than 1,400 entrepreneurs, professionals, and other small business hopefuls absorbed advice from renowned professionals, including MC Hammer, rapper turned Silicon Valley entrepreneur; Lisa Price, founder and president of Carol’s Daughter; Ali Velshi, CNN anchor and chief business correspondent; Vanessa and Angela Simmons, founders of Pastry shoes; and producer Will Packer of Rainforest Films.
Conference goers chose from informative and motivational sessions that covered topics such as raising capital, government contracting opportunities, properly using social media for business growth, and tapping into the green economy. A popular, two-day youth education program gave Teenpreneurs, ages 13—19, an opportunity to learn entrepreneurship fundamentals such as leadership skill development and formulating a business plan. It also exposed them to educators, entrepreneurs, and corporate professionals.
One of the most insightful moments occurred when Charles Ogletree, author and Harvard Law School professor, facilitated an intimate conversation with black enterprise Chairman and Publisher Earl G. Graves Sr. and his son Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., the magazine’s president and CEO. The senior Graves shared his experiences raising Black Enterprise from a magazine startup 41 years ago to the iconic multimedia enterprise it has become.
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