Hundreds converged on Atlanta’s Hyatt Regency last week for the 20th annual Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit.
The three-day event drew 1000-plus business owners and corporate leaders, alongside aspiring and successful entrepreneurs from across the nation.
Designed to provide strategies and networking opportunities to help businesses flourish, the Convention & Expo even attracted overseas guests.
They came for the big names, the celebrities, business moguls, and inspirational speakers that all shared personal and professional nuggets to help attendees tap into their full potential.
Noteworthy speakers included media mogul Steve Harvey, producer and tech entrepreneur Jermaine Dupri, empowerment specialist Lisa Nichols, journalist Roland Martin and businessman Paul Judge, to name a few.
One of the major highlights was ‘Going Up! The Elevator Pitch’ contest, hosted by AT&T, where a select group of finalists were given a one-shot opportunity of a lifetime to pitch their business to a group of judges and go head-to-head for a chance to win a $10,000 grand prize.
During her persuasive pitch, Camille Newman, founder of Pop-Up Plus NY, who went on to win the competition, said, “At a size 16 not only was I considered full-figured but my clothing options were few. Pop-Up Plus is the solution. It’s an online pop-up shop offering trendy apparel for curvy girls ages 25 to 45.”
Another well-attended session was “The Corporate Procurement Game: Operating Small, Selling Big” that focused on how small businesses can supply services and goods to Corporate America.
Guest panelists at the AT&T sponsored event were Oliver Turman, Director Supplier Diversity, AT&T; Frantz Tiffeau of Nationwide; and Terrez Thompson of Coca-Cola.
All the panelists talked about the need for small business suppliers to be experts in their field, do their homework and learn the corporate culture, and champion innovation, especially in technology.
They all stressed the importance of pursuing second-tier supplier relations (working with a larger supplier) to develop as a business, establishing a solid reputation and building relationships and networks with other suppliers and corporations.
AT&T’s Turman said landing a direct first-tier supplier contract may be the ultimate goal but second-tier opportunities are a way for small business suppliers to get their foot in the door.
“Many of our largest suppliers today started out as second tier suppliers,” said AT&T’s Turman.“ So definitely don’t discount starting out at second-tier. Don’t bite more than you can chew.”
Disclaimer: The above article is an AT&T sponsored post
Main photo: Winner of the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit’ Going Up! The Elevator Pitch’ contest, Camille Newman, founder of Pop-Up Plus
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