Detroit to The World: Don’t Count Us Out

Motown welcomes the B.E. Entrepreneurs Conference with grit, enthusiasm and faith in its own future


Claire Babineaux-Fontenot

Next, a conference pre-reception was hosted by conference sponsors Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the Michigan Minority Business Development Council. There, speakers ranging from former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Sr. VP and Chief Tax Officer Claire Babineaux-Fontenot (a member of B.E.’s 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America), to MMBDC Marketing Director Kenneth Harris, shared their belief in the promise of the Motor City, and that healthy minority-owned businesses are key to realizing that potential.

Last was the official Entrepreneurs Conference welcome reception, hosted by title sponsors GM and ExxonMobil, along with the Detroit Convention & Visitors Bureau. No less than newly elected Mayor David Bing, the NFL Hall of Famer and B.E. 100s CEO of The Bing Group, declared the Entrepreneurs Conference a harbinger of greater things to come for a new Detroit.

To be sure, the pain, the need for change, is not over for Detroit, any more than they are for the rest of the nation. However, the theme echoed repeatedly at each of these events, can best be expressed in a paraphrase of motivational speaker Willie Jolley: Motown’s setbacks are just a setup for a comeback. Don’t bet against Detroit, not matter how tough things are today.

I’m thinking this may turn out to be one of the best Entrepreneurs Conferences ever. You can look for future blog posts here at BlackEnterprise.com, as well as follow me on Twitter, to see if I’m right. But even if I’m not, I’m glad that at Black Enterprise, we chose to stand with Detroit. Let’s do this.

Alfred Edmond Jr. is the editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com

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  • It was refreshing to hear that even though Detroit may be down for the count, you have not counted us out.

    As a small business owner located in the heart of downtown Detroit(Compuware Complex), I have seen and lived the struggles of Detroit over the past seven years. While the rest of the nation experienced growth and rapid development,Detroit had entered a mild recession. Now we are going through a depression, but we are a strong, resilient people,who will emerge as a city with a greater vision, stronger constitution and the foundation for a bright future.

  • I applaud Black Enterprise for choosing and supporting Detroit during this economic tsunami. The automotive industry has singlehandly helped to create the Black middle class in this country and assisted in many of us obtaining our college education. Detroiters are strong in character and will see their way through the automotive bankruptcies. It was great to see the out of towners and the next generation at the BE Conference eagerly seeking knowledge and building relationships. We need you BE as the pillar communicating about Black businesses

  • Pamela Reed

    Mr. Edmond

    I have emailed you before I know this blog is about Detroit but it does tie in to what I want to say. My question is when is President Obama going to help our community, oh I forgot he doesn’t want to discuss race, but we put this man in office with our 96% vote. Why do we always have to be patience? Now he is helping the immigrants. So again we have to go to the back of the bus?

    Mr.Edmond I don’t do the back of the bus, when will get our turn and if he does mention race especially black folk, he talk about self help and stop waiting for the government . Again we were hood wink, look like fools. And I know he can’t be the President for African American because that is the last thing he want to be and going to be. Mr. Edmond I hate to say but I tell the truth and it gets me in trouble sometimes. But I wish I would have kept my vote and not voted for him. As my grandma use to say tell the truth and “SAME THE DEVIL” And now he sending troops to the Mexican broader and he did that only because the President of Mexico put him on blast. We need troops in the “GHETTO” starting with Detroit . But what do I know?

    P.S. if you can respond to me at my personal email because after I email you I have trouble finding your response so my email is burnbox07@yahoo.com

    Thank You For Your Time
    Pamela Reed