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Invitation-only Event Aims to Explore How Minority Entrepreneurs Can Position Themselves to Form Profitable Partnerships with Large Corporations


WHO: BLACK ENTERPRISE, the premier business, investment, and wealth building resource for African Americans, along with Walmart, the nation’s leading retailer and one of the nation’s largest private employers of African Americans.

WHAT: 20/20 Vision: Supplier Diversity in the 21st Century, an economic forum designed to explore and how entrepreneurs can organize themselves and their ventures to form profitable partnerships with large corporations as part of their supply chain.  Through a series of speakers, discussions and case studies, the event aims to identify and increase the profitability of minority wholesalers, manufacturers and artisans.

WHERE:        The Chicago Hilton

Continental Ballroom

720 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago, Illinois

WHEN:           Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Speaker and Event Highlights

8:00 a.m.         Registration/Networking/Continental Breakfast

9:15 a.m.         Remarks

  • Hon. Stephanie D. Neely, Treasurer, City of Chicago
  • Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., President & CEO, BLACK ENTERPRISE

9:20 a.m.         Remarks

  • Reginald Reese, Market Manager, Northern Illinois, Walmart Stores, Inc.

9:30 a.m.         Keynote Address

  • Dennis Kimbro, Business School Professor & Author, Clark Atlanta University

10:00 a.m.       Case Study: Michael L. Thompson, CEO, Fair Oaks Farms L.L.C.

10:15 a.m. –    Session 1: Navigating the Procurement Maze

11:30 a.m. This session will explore how to position a business to become a valued supplier to a corporate retailer from management, operational and financial standpoint. A panel of successful entrepreneurs combined with experts will help potential suppliers through the tiers of the corporate supply chain.

  • Leon Richardson, CEO, ChemicoMays
  • Amy Hilliard, Founder & CEO, The ComfortCake Co.
  • Kaitlin Wolfe, Director of Merchandising, Walmart Midwest Division

Moderator:      Alan Hughes, Multimedia Editorial Director, BLACK ENTERPRISE

Noon –              Lunch/Networking

12:50 p.m. –    Session 2: Scaling Up To Meet The Right Contract

1:50 p.m. One of the challenges large corporations face is finding small business vendors with the size and capability to fulfill large requests. In order to land the more lucrative opportunities, small businesses need to grow and pool resources – by merger, acquisition, joint venture or other means. This session will discuss how to scale up and introduce entrepreneurs who have reaped the rewards.

  • Robert Blackwell Sr. , Chairman & CEO, Blackwell Consulting Service
  • Gilbert Campbell, Co-Owner, Volt Energy

Moderator:     Derek T. Dingle, SVP/Editor-in-Chief, BLACK ENTERPRISE

2:00 p.m.         End

EDITOR’S NOTE: This invitation-only forum is not open to the public. Interested press should contact Andrew Wadium at 212-886-9598 or via e-mail at


BLACK ENTERPRISE, your ultimate source of Wealth For Life, is the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans. Since 1970, BE has provided essential business information and advice to professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and decision makers. Every month, BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine provides 4 million readers with information on entrepreneurship, careers, and financial management. A multimedia company, BE also produces radio and television programming, business and lifestyle events, Web content, and digital media. BLACK ENTERPRISE is the definitive source of information for and about African American business markets and leaders, and the authority on black business news and trends.


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