23 Reasons Why Every Entrepreneur and Small Business Owner Needs To Be at the Entrepreneurs Summit

If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner of color, there shouldn’t be any reason that you don’t attend the 23rd annual Entrepreneurs Summit presented by Nationwide in Charlotte, North Carolina, from June 6–9.

The Entrepreneurs Summit is the premier event for black entrepreneurs and small business owners. For the past 23 years, we have produced the comprehensive event with quality content and information for those looking to build, connect, and elevate as professionals. Every year, professionals arrive to the summit with great expectations and leave feeling empowered and with more budding relationships that help them grow their business. And, this year will be no different with the exception that it will be bigger and better than ever!

Our all-star lineup of business moguls and experts are ready to help Summit attendees break into new industries and learn new technologies to integrate into their business. When you think about leaders in real estate you think of Don Peebles. When you think of boss women in entrepreneurship, you think of Janice Bryant Howroyd. When you think of someone who is changing the game, you think of Bryon Allen, who recently purchased the Weather Channel. And, when you think of an artist who has successfully transcended across industries because of his entrepreneurial mindset, you think of Tip “T.I.” Harris.

With a combination of 79 speakers—including coaches, business moguls, attorneys, tech leaders, and executives—attendees will have the opportunity to learn from the best in their industry while connecting with over 1,000 other professionals from all over the country in the Charlotte metropolitan area.

It’s fair to say that we’ve got you covered. But, just in case you need a really good reason to #BEintheQC, we came up with 23.

23 Reasons Why You Need to Be at the Summit

  1. Registration The price to attend the event is the lowest it’s ever been! And, on top of that, there are flexible registration options. So, if you can’t stay all three days you can opt in for the days that you can attend.
  2. Fireside chats If we could describe our fireside chats in one word it would be “lit.” Mark Cuban will be joining Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., CEO and president of BLACK ENTERPRISE for an up-close and personal conversation about his journey, controversies, success, and how entrepreneurs can turn their ideas into action.
  3. Networking – Where else can you network with over 1,000 entrepreneurs, small business owners, and professionals of color? Not only will you be able to network and connect with others, but there will also be the opportunity to participate in our speed-networking session with Ramon Ray. (iStock/fstop123)


  4. Mentorship – There is no better place to find a mentor to help grow your business than at the Entrepreneurs Summit.
  5. Startup funding session – If you want to learn the ins and outs of raising capital, you’ll want to hear it from our panel of experts who are among the few black women who have raised over $1 million in funding from venture capitalists and pitch competitions.
  6. Access to capital – The saying, “You never know who will be in the room” is so true. But just as a heads up, we want to let you know that angel investors and other capital resources will be in attendance at the Summit. So, whether you plan on pitching your business or not, be ready to be in the same room as investors.
  7. Nationwide M.A.P. It! session ­­– Our host, Nationwide, will be holding a session for entrepreneurs who are looking to master the art of securing funding to grow their business.
  8. Level Up and pitch for dollars – This year’s elevator pitch competition is going to be bigger and better than ever! Four black women entrepreneurs and small business owners will be taking the stage for their chance to win big—$10,000 big!
  9. Pop-Up Pitch competition – For those who aren’t able to compete in the main pitch competition, we’ll be hosting our first-ever Pop-Up Pitch competition. That’s right, attendees will have the opportunity to be selected at random to pitch their idea and perfect it with one-on-one coaching from Alfred A. Edmond Jr.       
  10. One-on-one business coaching – If you feel like you are stuck in between and are ready to pivot you can have the opportunity to speak with a business coach at the Summit. There will be 20 business coaches from around the country who will be holding on-on-one sessions to help you create a pathway to success.
  11. The BizHub – If you are looking to elevate your business then the BizHub is where you need to showcase your products and services to more than 1,000 engaged prospects.
  12. Food Truck Thursday – If you want a taste of Charlotte, you’ll get just that during Food Truck Thursday. We are working with BBOC and the City of Charlotte to bring together 20 black-owned food trucks. People ordering food on the street (iStock/lisegagne)


  13. SistersInc. – Black women are leading in entrepreneurship but how often are you able to glean from those who are leading the charge? This year we will be sitting down with Adenah Bayoh, founder and CEO of Adenah Bayoh; Monique Rodriguez, founder & CEO of Mielle Organics; and Natalie Madeira Cofield, founder & CEO of Walker’s Legacy, to inspire women seeking to launch, manage and grow a successful enterprise.
  14. Learn about cannabis and the law – If you are looking to get in on the “green rush,” you’ll want to hear from cannabis experts Dasheeda Dawson, Hope Wiseman, and Neil Juneja on the ins and outs of the industry and how you can cash in on it.
  15. Engaging and relevant sessions – Although you can access almost anything on the Internet with a Google search, what you can’t get online is in-person interfacing with some of the leading experts in technology, entrepreneurship, supplier diversity, and government contracting. But, you can get that valuable time and information at the Summit.
  16. Learn how to make money on social media – If you’ve been wondering how you can leverage your influence on social media to make money, Spectacular Smith, founder & CEO of Adwizar and John McAdory, Chief Strategy Officer at SpokeHub, will share how you can monetize your audience on your platform of choice.
  17. The City of Charlotte If you’re thinking about growing your business, Charlotte should be on your radar. There are endless amounts of opportunities in the area and Charlotte Mayor Vi Alexander Lyles, Economic Development Director of the City of Charlotte; Kevin Dick; and Stephen K. Benjamin, the Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, will be discussing all of the business opportunities in the Carolinas at the Summit.

    (Mayor Vi Lyles discuss how the partnership between BE and Charlotte with advance economic mobility. Photo: Tyrus Gaines)

  18. The number of black-owned business in Charlotte – There are over 13,000 black-owned businesses in Queen City. While it might be impossible to support all of the black-owned businesses in the city, you can support the ones in the downtown area, those that will be exhibiting in the BizHub, and the ones that will be participating in Food Truck Thursday.
  19. Small Business Awards – There is no award for black entrepreneurs as esteemed as the BLACK ENTERPRISE Small Business Award. We see you when others are overlooking your achievements. And, we’re looking forward to recognizing and announcing the 2018 family business, techpreneur, teenpreneur, and franchisee of the year on Friday, June 8, at the summit.
  20. BE 100 Companies of the Year – Every year the nation looks to BLACK ENTERPRISE for the premier list of top black-owned corporations and we are looking forward to celebrating them at the summit.
  21. Black Bankers Row – Banking black matters. That is why we are partnering with black banks like Mechanics & Farmers (M&F) Bank to expose black business owners and entrepreneurs to black-owned financial institutions.
  22. Mastermind C-suite – Toyota will be hosting an exclusive Mastermind session to help entrepreneurs receive professional advice from C-level experts, mentoring, and co-working space for attendees who need to get work done while on the go.
  23. Your growth – If you are ready to build your brand or business; connect with other movers and shakers; and elevate what you know and get to the next level, then YOU are the reason you should attend the Entrepreneurs Summit. You are worth the investment.