I started my day 2 of the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference & Expo with a powerful message of empowerment from Lisa Nichols. To be honest, I did not know who she was but everyone else did. This motivational speaker catapulted into a household name with her participation in The Secret and has appeared on Larry King Live, Starting Over and last but not least, The Oprah Winfrey Show.
As I was listening to her speak, instantly within the very first few words, I knew why her seminar was a “must go to.” She was sincere and powerful, serious and loving, ambitious and gracious, moving and motivating. Her message was very simple: NO MATTER WHAT.
No matter what, you keep trying.
No matter what, you can’t be stopped.
No matter what, you’re built to win.
No matter what, you sacrifice to get what you want.
I always think positively but after listening to Lisa, I had a new outlook on a lot of things. My dream is non-negotiable…from this day forward.
Making that dream a reality takes a lot of work, dedication and FINANCING. The Get Money! Financing Your Business was a great segway. The panel consisted of Citizens Trust Bank CEO, James Young, Atlanta Business Banking Manager of Wells Fargo, Leonard Walker and a host of other experts in getting your business financed. Although it was very informative it was almost encouraging and discouraging at the same time to hear how brutally honest the experts were. We all see what’s happening to the economy and the money that’s available for funding business is much harder to get. But like I said above… NO MATTER WHAT.
The conference consisted of many components in the world of business and entrepreneurship. It celebrated people stepping away from how we’ve been trained and stepping out on faith. It was a wonderfully mixed crowd of young to old, men and women, and businesses from oil to blogging. With seminars such as Falling Forward & Bouncing Back: How to Keep Moving When You Get Knocked Down; Doing Business With Georgia; Business Coaching; Small Business Success Boot Camp – 101; The Business of Nonprofit: How to Turn “Doing Good” into Good Business; The Elevator Pitch Competition; Scoring a Multimillion Dollar Contract; The Energy Imperative: Converting Policy Into Opportunity; Legal Strategies: Protecting Your Business and Personal Assets; and Intro to Federal Procurement to name a few, you were bound to go home with something new. There were many “ah ha” moments I experienced during the weekend.
There’s nothing better than someone acknowledging the good that you do. With all the seminars and networking that took place, Black Enterprise did not forget to recognize the big guys…and the little ones too.
The Teenpreneur Conference hosted by Wendy’s International, promotes, encourages and rewards young children that have started businesses across the country. Black Enterprise Teenpreneur Award, which recognizes a young entrepreneur or group, age 19 or younger, committed to advancing the tradition of black business achievement, went to 18-year-old Gabrielle McBay. Crumbs by Gabrielle is a baked goods company she started at her home in Texas. Her revenues for last year was $5,000. You can see what she has to offer at http://www.crumbsbygabrielle.com. The other nominees were: Amiya’s Mobile Dance Academy out of Detroit, with revenues of $10,000 and School Me Clothing out of Maybee, MI.
Innovator of the Year Award is given to a business flourishing in an innovative industry or those approaching business in a groundbreaking manner. This years winner went to Amos Winbush, 27 year-old Founder and CEO of CyberSynchs (www.cybersynchs.com) LLC, a company that offers software that provides backup and synchronization of mobile devices. CyberSynchs posted revenues of $2 million last year.
BE Next Award is given to the fearless young entrepreneur age 21-35 tapped to be future business leaders. H.I.M.-istry (Healthy Image Man) owner Darnell Henderson, went home with the award. At 32 years-old, his line of skin care products for men of all ethnicities is currently available in more than 100 Macy’s stores nationwide and has posted revenues of $1.6 million in 2009. SWEET!
- Automobile Dealer of the Year – Avis Ford, INC
- Advertising Agency of the Year – Global Hue
- Financial Services of the Year – Siebert, Brandford, Shank & CO. L.L.C.
- Industrial Company of the Year – Thompson Hospitality Corp
Topping the night was the A.G. Gaston Lifetime Achievement Award that recognizes the entrepreneurial spirit of an individual who has established an extended and consistently distinguished record of business success. Don H. Barden, Chairman & CEO of Barden Companies Inc., The Majestic Star and Fitzgeralds Casinos and Hotels, and Waycor Development Company, took home this honorable award for his 40 years of service.
Overall, the conference was phenomenal. There were a few seminars I felt were to “Intro to Business” for the level of people who were there, but definitely imperative to the people who needed it. I was motivated, invigorated and ready to go to the next level. To be able to pick the brain of multi-millionaires and receive a warm reception to do it, was amazing. Earl Graves, Sr., Black Enterprise Magazine CEO, was the kindest sweetest man. I could tell his sole purpose is to open the doors for the people behind him. Chicago 2011 here I come!