Making Lucrative Connections

B.E.'s Fourth Annual Entrepreneurs Conference provided tools for black business owners to form strategic alliances toward building wealth

Avenue Initiative. Sharpton spoke on the importance of being business-minded and valuing consumer power in the black community.

“[This conference] gave me a lot of food for thought about starting and running a business and forming alliances,” said Ruth Hegamin, president of Business Solutions, a Sandler Sales Institute franchise in Alpharetta, Georgia. “Through networking with people who have experienced the ups and downs, I can understand things to look out for.”

Next year’s Entrepreneurs Conference is scheduled for May 10-14 and will again be held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. For registration information, call 800-543-6786. The fifth anniversary of the affair promises to be full of excitement and special events for the year 2000; it will also celebrate BE’s 30th anniversary.

Third Annual B.E. 100s Strategic Summit: Strengthening Relationships
In its third and most successful year, the B.E. 100s Strategic Summit drew more than 100 CEOs and top executives from the largest African American-owned businesses. They come together each year to form alliances and develop an agenda to continue moving forward.

Developing growth strategies during market volatility, leadership and stimulating growth and adding value through mergers, acquisitions and strategic allianc
es were among the topics that were covered.

“Every session was jam-packed with information for African Americans who have the experience and expertise to deliver the appropriate kind of advice to African Americans,” says George Beach, founder, chairman and CEO of George Beach Inc. (No. 20 on the be advertising agencies list).

In response to an idea about increasing networking opportunities generated at last year’s Summit roundtable discussion, for the first time the event included a Procurement Pavilion and networking luncheon. The meal afforded be 100s companies and 12 corporate sponsors two hours of critical “face time” to help facilitate partnerships. A procurement directory provided profiles of each corporate sponsor and their procurement opportunities, as well as the capabilities of each be 100s company by category. There also was a presentation by representatives from IBM and General Motors about procurement opportunities.
American Airlines hosted a separate procurement luncheon and one-on-one session with its commodities managers.

Fourth Annual KidpreneursTM Konference: Developing The Leaders Of The Next Generation
Ashley Gibson loves to bake cakes: chocolate, pound or blueberry upside down. Gibson, 11, of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, thought her culinary creations were so good she decided to start Ashley’s Delicious Cakes. The business has generated about $300 in sales. Gibson, who’d like to learn more about financial management and hire a staff, is one of 125 young entrepreneurs who attended the Fourth Annual Kidpreneurs Konference. The Kidpreneurs Konference, a perennially sold-out three-day event, had 125 participants this time around. Young people ages 4 to 18 attended and were divided into four groups: Weepreneurs (4-6), Futurepreneurs (7-10), Junior Executives (11-13) and Future CEOs (14-17). Students learned about the fundamentals and viability of entrepreneurship through hands-on activities such as bake sales and creating a business plan. Topics included developing a business plan, saving and investing in stocks, developing a marketing campaign, promotion and identifying business opportunities.

“They taught us about setting goals and

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