</a>At an event held at the U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday, September 14, the <a href="http://cbcinstitute.org/db/" target="_blank"><strong>Congressional Black Caucus Institute</strong></a> 21st Century Council presented inaugural awards recognizing visionary entrepreneurs who have had a positive impact on the nation. The awardees were Black Enterprise Founder and Chairman <a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/bios/earl-graves/" target="_blank"><strong>Earl Graves Sr.</strong></a>, <a href="http://www.act1group.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Act 1 Group</strong></a> Chairman and CEO <a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/tag/janice-bryant-howroyd/"><strong>Janice Bryant Howroyd</strong></a>, and <a href="http://www.telecomsys.com/" target="_blank"><strong>TeleCommunications Systems </strong></a>Chairman, CEO and Founder <a href="http://www.telecomsys.com/about/board-bios/maurice-tose.aspx" target="_blank"><strong>Maurice B. Tosé</strong></a>.
</a>The 21st Century Council is committed to identifying, exploring and researching major policy issues affecting the nation, and is comprised of academicians, business leaders, labor representatives and policy advocates. Pictured: 21st Century Council Chairman Art Collins, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Howroyd, Graves, Commerce Department Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Wade, Tosé, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk and CBC Institute Chairman and Congressman Bennie G. Thompson.
</a>Collins with Black Enterprise Founder Earl Graves. Collins is also board treasurer of the CBC Institute.
</a>Graves, Locke and Wade discuss Commerce Department initiatives aimed at boosting small business and job creation. "We wanted to present these awards," said Locke, "to recognize business people who help move our economy in the right direction."