The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit attendees were in for a treat at the Small Business Awards Luncheon and Fireside Chat, hosted by KOCH Industries & Georgia Pacific L.L.C., with speaker John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE.
The luncheon kicked off with the distribution of awards to hardworking entrepreneurs for their accomplishments in cultivating successful small businesses.
Check out the winners:
Family Business of the Year – presented to a family-operated business that has exhibited growth and success in entrepreneurship.
Winner: The Cupcake Collection, CEO, Mignon Francois
Techpreneur of the Year – presented to a fast-growing company offering groundbreaking technology or disrupting the technical space.
Winner: LISNR, CEO, Rodney Williams
Teenpreneur of the Year – presented to young entrepreneurs exhibiting a mindset and tenacity for success.
Winner: Essynce Moore, Essynce Couture L.L.C.
Franchise Company of the Year – presented to a franchise owner with outstanding performance and overall contribution.
Winner: Howard James Jr., CEO, Fast Signs, Washington D.C.
Following the award distribution, Black Enterprise Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer, Derek Dingle sat down with Hope Bryant to discuss the state of financial literacy among African Americans and the history of blacks with finance in the United States. “We are sitting in a moment of history,” says Hope Bryant.
“Everywhere we care about, we see a check cashing, title lender, liquor store, people call it racism, that’s not racism, that’s target marketing,” says Bryant. They are targeting neighborhoods with 500 credit scores. I’m working to raise credit scores 120 points in 20 months. I want nothing but 700 minimum credit score communities.”
Listen people, Hope Bryant dropped knowledge. He inspired, enlightened, uplifted, and informed. “If you don’t know who you are by 9 in the morning, by dinner time someone is going to tell you,” says Bryant. “Lack of confidence is a distinct part of poverty. Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right—we have to love ourselves back to health,” he concluded.