New York, March 30, 2017—The BLACK ENTERPRISE 2017 Entrepreneurs Summit, Where Innovation Meets Funding, hosted by Nationwide convenes on Wednesday, May 17 through Saturday, May 20, at the Marriott Marquis Houston in Houston, Texas, with a powerhouse lineup of some of the nation’s most accomplished and celebrated entrepreneurs and motivational speakers. The three-day conference brings together more than 1,000 of the country’s leading entrepreneurs, business funding sources, and corporate executives. The Entrepreneurs Summit is designed to provide attendees with countless opportunities to meet, network, and learn from hundreds of entrepreneurs, including angel investors, from around the country with a focus on innovation, capitalization, monetization, and growth.
A major highlight of the Summit is a general session with multibillionaire Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries and Thurgood Marshall College Fund President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, as they engage in a critical discussion on how to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurial innovators and value creators by harnessing the proven potential of HBCUs and expanding the availability of youth entrepreneurship programs. The discussion will take place during the annual presentation of the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit Small Business Awards, a celebration of America’s best small businesses.
The Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition hosted by AT&T, will award $10,000 to one of 10 finalists who will pitch their business ideas to a panel of accomplished entrepreneurs, including BLACK ENTERPRISE CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., before a live audience.
The ABC Shark Tank Diversity Tour will be holding an open casting call to identify entrepreneurs ready to pitch their ideas for an investment on the hit business reality show. In addition, the session “Why It Pays To Swim With The Sharks” will feature entrepreneurs who experienced success—and learned critical lessons—by appearing on the show.
Shark Tank is looking for entrepreneurs who can pitch their breakthrough business concepts, products, properties, and services to moguls in hopes of landing investment funds. If selected, five self-made, brilliant but tough investors (the Sharks) could be willing to part with their own hard-earned cash to give budding entrepreneurs the seed money they need to jump start their ventures. To apply for the open call, you must complete the following application.
The 2017 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit will also provide attendees with breakthrough ideas on innovation, vision, and growth strategy in high-powered sessions on critical business topics such as “Business Coaching: Crafting Your Game Plan,” “BE Talk: Innovation and Funding,” “Fundraising from Startup to Scale Up in the Tech Space,” “Spotting Trends and Opportunities in Tech,” and “Seizing Opportunities in Franchising,” just to name a few. In addition, entrepreneurs will engage in results-focused labs and workshops led by nationally recognized coaches and experts on everything from monetizing web traffic and securing intellectual property, to revenue-focused branding and marketing and making powerful business presentations.
Confirmed speakers include:
• Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston
• Charles Koch, Chairman & CEO, Koch Industries
• Johnny C. Taylor Jr., President & CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund
• Clyde Drexler, NBA Hall of Famer, Drexler Holdings L.L.C.
• Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, Windsor Village United Methodist Church
• Brandon Andrews, Senior Consultant, Values Partnership; Casting, Shark Tank and Steve Harvey’s Funderdome
• Bonin Bough, Host, Cleveland Hustles, CNBC
• Charles King, Founder & CEO, MACRO
• Jason Towns, CEO & Managing Director, Groundwork Ventures
• Tye Caldwell, Co-Founder, ShearShare
• Courtney Caldwell, Co-Founder, ShearShare
• Donna Sims Wilson, President, Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors, L.P.
• Hahna Alexander, CEO, SolePower L.L.C.
• Jason Few, Investor, Energy Projects
• Sulaiman “Su” Sanni, Co-Founder & CEO, WeDidIt
• Teri Williams, President & COO, OneUnited Bank
• John Scroggins, President & CEO, Unity National Bank
• Melinda Emerson, Author, Host, #SmallBizChat
• Zakiya Larry, Author, Founder and CEO, Quest Media Training
• Lamar Tyler, CEO, Tyler New Media; Creator BlackandMarriedWithKids.com
• Gilbert Campbell, Co-Founder & CEO, Volt Energy
• Ramon Ray, Entrepreneur, Author, CEO, Smart Hustle Magazine
• Michael Elliot, Founder & CEO, Hammer and Nails Salon Group
• Stephen Hightower, CEO, Hightowers Petroleum
• Jonathan Sprinkles, Connection Coach, Author of Presentation Power
The 2017 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit is hosted by Nationwide, with presenting sponsors, AT&T and Koch Industries; platinum sponsors American Express, Walmart; corporate sponsors FedEx, HoustonFirst Corp., and Houston Metro Airport; Strategic partners BBVA Compass and Port of Houston. Click here to register.