Microsoft Corp. was named title sponsor of the Seventh Annual Black Enterprise/Microsoft Entrepreneurs Conference, to be held May 15-19, 2002, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee. The corporation also signed on as the title sponsor for the 2003 conference.
The sponsorship marks the first time a pure-play technology corporation has signed on as title sponsor of the conference. “This historic partnership between the nation’s leading source of innovative technology tools and the nation’s leading source of business solutions for African Americans will serve to further foster the growth and development of minority-owned businesses,” says Earl G. Graves Jr., president and chief operating officer of BLACK ENTERPRISE. “Microsoft’s investment in this partnership demonstrates its continued recognition of the African American business market as critical to reaching its bottom-line objectives.”
Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft, hopes to narrow the digital divide. “Technology is advancing at an incredibly rapid pace, and it is crucial that the African American community not get left behind,” he says. “We must all work to ensure that everyone in America has the opportunity for equal access.”
Titled “New Ideas, New Solutions: Strategies for Reinventing Your Business,” the conference provides an opportunity for business owners, executives, and future entrepreneurs to interface with contacts, capital financiers, and corporate franchisers. Seminars and other events will offer insights and advice into what it takes to run a successful business venture from established experts who are ahead in the game.
Invited speakers for the Entrepreneurs Conference include: Gates, attorney Johnnie Cochran, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Kirbyjon Caldwell.