Small Business is Big Business

Black Enterprise’s 17th Annual Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo Where Deals Are Made

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Drive, determination, and tenacity are traits possessed by the 1,200 professionals who converged for Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted by Nationwide Insurance. Ambitious attendees embodying the theme “Small Business Is Big Business” flocked to Hilton Chicago—also host of the Teenpreneur Conference—eager to connect and absorb BE’s signature brand of insight.

“A lot of times we feel like we need permission to dream big. EC gives you that permission and a tool kit so you can succeed,” says Ebonee Monique of Mama I Want to Write, a boutique editing, proofing, and ghostwriting firm and winner of this year’s coveted Elevator Pitch competition hosted by PepsiCo. Monique was among 10 competitors to give 60-second presentations before the judges’ panel that included Magnus Greaves, founder and CEO of The CASHFLOW; Michael Baisden, author and nationally syndicated radio host; and Kim Coles, comedian and host of The Oprah Winfrey Network’s Are You Normal, America? As the grand-prize winner Monique received the spotlight during the “Business of the Week” segment on The Michael Baisden Show, mentoring from The CASHFLOW, and $10,000.

EC panels and presentations hit the mark in addressing the needs of business owners in three key areas: accessing capital, seizing business opportunities, and leveraging technology to grow their enterprises. This was reflected with the kickoff event “Equity Date with an Angel,” moderated by Daymond John, founding CEO of FUBU and costar of ABC’s Shark Tank. Attendees learned lessons on securing capital from the “shark” private investor along with panelists Valerie Gaydos of Capital Growth Inc. and Angel Venture Forum, and Timothy Reese of the Minority Angel Investor Network and Forge Intellectual Capital L.L.C. The group discussed that when pitching to potential investors, turnoffs are rambling on about the business or overvaluing your company, while turn-ons include having sales revenues and telling investors how they will make their money back (see “Hooking Investors,” June 2012).

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