BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Entrepreneurs Summit was in high gear Thursday for the Entrepreneurs Summit Awards celebration.
The ceremony recognizes exemplary entrepreneurs who have blazed trails in their industries, dominated markets, and embody the spirit of legendary business icon and BLACK ENTERPRISE founder Earl G. Graves, Sr. This year’s illustrious winners received accolades for their business prowess, leadership, and track record of Black excellence.
The Earl Graves, Sr. Visionary Award was presented to Christopher Williams, chairman, Siebert Williams Shank & Co. LLC, and Suzanne Shank, president and CEO, Siebert Williams Shank & Co. LLC.
The Teenpreneur award was presented to Trey Brown, founder and CEO, SPERGO. The Community Champion Award went to Derrick Hayes, president and CEO of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks. The Business Disruptor award was presented to Kimberly McGlonn, Ph.D., CEO and founder, Grant Blvd Host.
Journalist, TV, and radio personality Jacque Reid praised the crowd of entrepreneurs as she shared her excitement about her recent brand, Vegan Sexy Cool, which includes a podcast, blog, and YouTube channel.
“I’m happy to be here because I want to learn just like you guys,” Jacque said.
The Teenpreneur award recognizes a young entrepreneur between the ages of 13 and 19 who is committed to advancing the rich tradition of Black business achievement. Brown, 15, received the award for his commitment to advancing Black businesses. He is CEO of the trendsetting streetwear and lifestyle brand, SPERGO, which is headquartered in Philadelphia.
Before graduating high school, Brown already has two brick-and-mortar locations with plans of making his brand global. While accepting his award, Brown thanked the Black Enterprise for receiving the “high honor” and also thanked his family for supporting his entrepreneurial journey.
McGlonn received the Business Disruptor award for being a “mover and shaker” with her fashion company, Grant BLVD. Named after the street in the Milwaukee neighborhood she grew up, McGlonn modeled the brand around her passion for fashion and activism.
Her stylish apparel features standout patterns, prints, and statements made from recycled materials. McGlonn focuses her brand on social justice and prison reform initiatives.
“This is to the curation of a new kind of closet, one that centers on thinking about the planet and being of service to all us, including those who are formerly incarcerated,” McGlonn said.
Hayes was praised for his commitment to philanthropy while running Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks. Hayes shared his passion for pouring into the Black community and providing “resources” to help his people thrive.
The most prestigious honor, the Earl Graves, Sr. Visionary Award, served as a celebration of his life and legacy. While accepting the award, Williams and Shank continued to celebrate the late Earl Graves, Sr and the trails he blazed for the future of Black entrepreneurs and business leaders.
“It is an honor to inspire the new entrepreneurs to blaze their own trail,” Shank said.