As founder and publisher of BLACK ENTERPRISE, Earl G. Graves. Sr. created a vehicle to provide information and advocacy that has enabled three generations of African Americans to build wealth through business ownership, career advancement, and money management. He used his media company to open doors for the best and brightest in the global business arena.
This â€œChampion of Black Business" used his media outlet and service on numerous corporate boards to serve as a powerful voice for diversity and inclusion within the executive suite and supply chain as well as wealth-building efforts for African Americans. This message was delivered through a magazine; website; two television shows, Black Enterprise Business Report and Our World with Black Enterprise; and a series of conferences. Key to his mission: Creation of empowerment and aspirational vehicles like the BE 100s - the national barometer of black business - and Wealth for Life.
An inductee into the U.S. Business Hall of Fame and recipient of the NAACP Spingarn Medal, Graves had also served as chairman and CEO of Pepsi-Cola of Washington, D.C., L.P., the nationâ€™s largest minority-controlled Pepsi-Cola franchise from 1990 and to the end of 1998 when it was sold back to the parent company. In 1997, at the time of honor, Graves owned and operated two companies on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE list: Pepsi-Cola of Washington, D.C. ranked No. 33 with gross sales of $56 million, and Earl G. Graves, Ltd., parent of BE, at No. 73 with gross sales of $30 million.
In January 2006, Graves named his eldest son, Earl â€œButchâ€ Graves, Jr. as CEO. With that promotion, Graves Jr. represents the transition to the next generation of leadership, one that will continue the mission through expansion of the franchise across various media platforms.