They’re the ones who take risks, push boundaries, embrace uncertainties and never, ever give up. They are entrepreneurs.
And as one of four areas of emphasis for the Georgia-Pacific Foundation (Education, Enrichment, Environment, Entrepreneurship), it was a natural fit for us to support to the 2015 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, an annual conference that celebrates entrepreneurship within the African-American community.
We partnered with our parent company Koch Industries to host the Summit’s Small Business Awards Luncheon, which honored some of the best and brightest in small business. From a woman who built a successful Wingstop franchise from the ground up, to a 13-year-old who landed her skincare products on the Urban Home Shopping Network, we were truly inspired by the talent and tenacity in the room.
Our CEO and President Jim Hannan gave the keynote remarks, which were followed by a conversation with music entrepreneur Jermaine Dupri, founder/CEO of So So Def Recordings. Hannan made a connection about the unique culture of entrepreneurship within Georgia-Pacific, “At GP and across Koch companies, we work to build a culture that attracts, develops and rewards principled entrepreneurs…people focused on driving change, innovating and creating value for society.”
The Summit attracted entrepreneurs from around the country to hear from business leaders and accomplished entrepreneurs. Scott Brown, a GP community affairs director, participated in one of the conference breakout sessions, “Disruptors and Innovators: Finding the Secret Sauce to Elevate your Business.” The multi-generational group of panelists shared their experiences in moving ideas from the drawing board to the marketplace. Brown, who also works with Youth Entrepreneurs® Georgia, talked about his experiences helping young people find their paths. When asked how to deal with rejection, panelist Porter Braswell, the 27-year-old founder of Jopwell, told the group, “You have to create a unique product that makes it hard for people to say no.”
We couldn’t agree more.