Making Lucrative Connections

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

working to achieve them,” said future CEO Bryan Barton, 15, of Cincinnati, who was in the program to learn about what it takes to run a business. “In the future, I want to get a degree in business marketing and own stock and a fashion design business.”

This year’s instructors were: Saundra Sowell-Scott, state director of youth entrepreneurial training at Temple University; Joel Sylvain, a licensed realtor, lecturer and teacher of entrepreneurship; James McNeal, director of Alumni Services of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship; Stanley Stain, president and CEO of the New Ventures Group, a financial consulting firm; Juan Casimiro, president of Casmar Inc., a business seminar consulting firm; and Erika Fikes, author and creator of Visualizing Your Dreams, a self-help program for students.

Guest speaker Alonzo Washington, founder and president of Omega 7 Inc., a comic book/action-figure business, and the 1998 be Rising Star Award recipient, addressed Kidpreneurs about the challenges of starting a business, what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, honing leadership skills and choosing the right career.

“The Kidpreneurs Konference is 100% revolutionary when you look at the image of African American youth-lost gangbangers,” says Washington. “This is very positive. More things like this should take place in our community.”

On graduation day, Kidpreneurs presented their winning business plans to a standing-room-only audience of proud parents and conference attendees, and received certificates of participation for their hard work.

The Kidpreneurs Program is expanding to include two bimonthly newsletters, Kidpreneurs News and BLack Enterprise For Teens. A clothing line and regional summer camp version of the successful Kidpreneurs Konference are in the works, according to John C. Graves, president of Black Enterprise Unlimited.

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