It’s a place where the energy’s high, the ambition prevalent and the opportunities for learning, well, endless. We’re talking about the 2016 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit Held in Miami Beach, Fla., the Summit gathered more than 1,200 leaders, entrepreneurs, business owners, and those aspiring to become just that, for a four-day meeting of the minds. And this year, Georgia-Pacific was back as a key sponsor, along with our parent company Koch Industries, to host the Summit’s Small Business Awards Luncheon.
In her welcoming remarks at the luncheon, Meredith Olson, VP of public affairs for Koch, said, “According to data from the Small Business Association, entrepreneurs like you create two out of every three new jobs in this country, and account for half of all private-sector employment. That’s simply amazing.”
The awards luncheon honored the achievements of small business entrepreneurs who, with their driving passion for success, have pushed boundaries and created opportunities for others. From the owner of a house-turned-cupcake-shop whose day begins around 2:30 a.m., to a 13-year-old clothing designer, spa owner, author and motivational speaker, we were simply amazed by the accomplishments and dedication of this select group of business owners.
Following the awards luncheon was a “fireside chat” where Derek Dingle, Black Enterprise’s SVP and chief content officer, talked with John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, which helps make free enterprise available to anyone. The conversation centered around the history and state of financial literacy among African Americans in the U.S. and the importance of helping people in underserved communities gain access to the tools, education and resources needed to succeed.
Mignon Francois, owner of The Cupcake Collection (center)
received BE’s Family Business of the Year Award by Koch
VP of Public Affairs Meredith Olson (left) and
Earl “Butch” Graves, president/CEO of Black Enterprise