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The buzz among black entrepreneurs around the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference coming to Atlanta this year has been steady almost since the 2009 edition of the conference ended in Detroit last year. So while it wasn’t exactly news, it’s now official: at a press conference held in Atlanta today, led by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Black Enterprise CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., the southern metropolis was officially named the host city of the 2010 Entrepreneurs Conference, the nation’s largest gathering of African American business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. This year’s event, now in its 15th year, will be held May 16-19 at the Atlanta Marriott Hotel.
As the nation’s premier national conference for black business owners, the Entrepreneurs Conference annually attracts more than 1,500 of the nation’s most influential business owners and decision makers, as well as the leading multinational corporations for which they serve as clients, suppliers, vendors and partners–led this year by conference host ExxonMobil.
“This year marks Black Enterprise’s 40th anniversary, but it also marks the 15th anniversary of our Entrepreneurs Conference,” said Graves this morning’s press conference, held at Atlanta City Hall. “I can’t think of a more appropriate place to celebrate that milestone than in Atlanta, Georgia. We are promising a spectacular event that will bring together talent, innovation and a vigorous spirit of entrepreneurship from across the country to begin the work of drafting a new chapter of African American entrepreneurship and financial empowerment.”
“Since its inception, Black Enterprise Magazine has been a constant and invaluable source–better yet, a path to wealth creation in the African-American community,” said Mayor Reed. “The information they have provided has enabled its readers to learn valuable lessons on financial literacy they may not have had access to otherwise. For we all know that knowledge is power–economic power–and this is exactly what Black Enterprise has offered over the decades.”
“As the newly elected Mayor, I am looking forward to having this dynamic power conference come in May,” Mayor Reed added. “It is a great fit for our city. In fact, the timing could not be better as our community focuses intently on empowering business in order stimulate new economic development and job creation.”
Black Enterprise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Derek T. Dingle also delivered remarks at this morning’s press conference. “Atlanta is fertile soil for small business, the backbone of African American entrepreneurship and–potentially–the saviour of our nation’s economic recovery,” said Dingle. “The most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Small Business Owners reports 62 percent growth in black-owned businesses in Atlanta. On the other end of the spectrum, Black Enterprise’s 2009 listing of the most successful African-American-owned firms in the nation–the BE 100s–featured 14 Atlanta-based firms.”
Among the features highlighted at this morning’s press conference were a special $295 extended registration rate for Atlanta residents; the Teenpreneur Conference, a concurrent event teaching entrepreneurial principles to teens and pre-teens; BE Next panel and activities targeting business leaders ages 35 and under; and The Elevator Pitch Competition, which invites entrepreneurs to battle for cash and other resources for their business by giving their best business pitch before a panel of judges. Confirmed conference speakers include Motivational Speaker and Life Coach Lisa Nichols, FUBU Founder and CEO Daymond Johns, The CashFlow Founder Magnus Greaves, New Birth Ministries Bishop Eddie L. Long, Young, Black & Fabulous LLC Founder Natasha Eubanks and U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency National Director David Hinson.
Click here for more about the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference.
Click here for more about The Elevator Pitch Competition.