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Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference: We are all family here!!!

by: ellis j. still

As I sit in my Chicago Hilton Hotel room, a new awakening is upon me. A new desire. A new drive to succeed. Not that these things ever went away, but more so a refreshing of hope.

Black Enterprise Magazine is not just a business magazine… a semblance of graphics, articles, and advertising as a way to make money.

Black Enterprise Magazine is an institution, from which businesses that happen to be owned by African Americans can grow, support, inspire, and be inspired in business, in life, and in Spirit.

The Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Conference (BEEC) is a reflection of the magazine… a vehicle from which to leverage and to celebrate business success.

It’s about wildly successful people showing love & support to others as they would to themselves. It’s about creating genuine relationships. It’s about positioning success within arm’s reach on new entrepreneurs.

It is important to differentiate between “Black Owned” businesses, which have connotations of being and doing sub-par business, from businesses that happen to be owned by African Americans that secure a footprint in the marketplace, rivaling their non-minority counterparts.

The conference was filled with many growth opportunities, featuring a wide variety of speakers that covered an even wider variety of topics. There were many moments from which to take advantage of creating relationships with peers, mentors, and those who can catapult your business. I, myself, cannot name names, but have had extremely meaningful conversations with several people that I look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with.

Yet also, it was refreshing to hear successful and creative CEO level executives talk at length about their business success as it relates to their personal relationship in Christ, which, I believe, is taboo in most business settings.

The highlight of the conference was not a dynamic speaker, nor a media superstar. The highlight of the conference was a moment of despair… where one would gladly jump off the nearest cliff of if he could.

In a room filled with 1,500 people and an undetermined number of people watching via streaming online, finalists were pitching their business as part of a larger national competition to vie for a prize of $10,000.  A young man approached the microphone, and began to talk about his business.

He started strong, but began to stumble over his words. He started over at the beginning and again, he was unable to find his words.  Visibly shaken, he slowed down his speech, seemingly to try to get his mind to sync with his mouth.

It was kind of like running hurdles in Track & Field, where if you hit a hurdle, you don’t hit just one. It throws you off for the rest of the entire race, and you hit every hurdle afterwards, falling to the ground before reaching the finish line.

This is essentially what happened to this young man. He eventually stopped trying, held his head down, separated himself from the microphone, and walked off the stage dejected.

This is when the cool part happens. This is where you see the true culture and character of Black Enterprise unfold. You see, they did not let him end on that note. They bought him back out on the stage.

Kim Coles who was a judge for the competition, defined that moment in her always loving, smiling, and in this case deliberate yet stern voice, when she said to the young man…

”WE ARE ALL FAMILY IN THIS ROOM”

She went on to say to the young man that one day his business will be wildly successful, and he will look back on that moment and ponder & smile at how far he had come… and laugh.

The entire room of 1,500 people promptly stood up, and graced him with thunderous applause.

This is what Black Enterprise is all about. Kindness. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking; it keeps no record of wrongs. It rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Black enterprise is an institution that demonstrates a love for others through business.

In the coming days, I will post some of my notes from the conference. I cannot go into too much detail, and I did not attend every session, as several sessions met at the same time. I would encourage you to get the latest copy of Black Enterprise: Special 40th Anniversary Edition, which features BE’s Top 100 Businesses, as well as many of the speakers from the conference.

This was my first time attending a Black Enterprise signature event. Having attended, I have a new-found reverence for what Black Enterprise is and its desire to support African American business owners. While social media keeps you informed, in order to truly get results, the cost of attending in person definitely matches the value of what you get in return.

Question: How bad do you want to succeed? Meet us at the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge in Florida on Labor Day Weekend and open yourself up to partnering with friendly faces who want to see you succeed.

For pictures, see our Facebook Page

You can also enroll in Black Enterprise’s (free) 2012 Small Business University Hosted by Dell

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Building Communities: NJ Social Entrepreneurship Summit 2011

By: ellis j. still

“Whether you start as one or end up as one, you must become a social entrepreneur before you can be a great entrepreneur.”

                 Alfred Edmond Jr., Editor-at-Large, Black Enterprise Magazine

So, let’s say that you are an entrepreneur. You have a really cool idea that you think can make some money. Business 101 dictates that supply meets demand. However, what if the true calling in your heart is to be able to provide the supply with the goal of helping people? What if you created a needs-based venture in the community (for-profit or non-profit) that builds relationships, provides jobs, and builds human capital?

These are the sort of conversations that occurred on yesterday at the 2011 New Jersey Social Entrepreneurship Summit. The summit created dialog among entrepreneurs interested in social entrepreneurship from both a traditional and non-profit point of view. There were case studies, conversations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities among established social entrepreneurs, funders & investors, start-up entrepreneurs, and others interested in making an investment in the human capital in their community.

Social entrepreneurship is described by organizers as a form of entrepreneurship that integrates social goals and social or environmental problem solving into its core business model. The purpose of this summit is to raise the profile of social entrepreneurship in New Jersey by bringing leaders of the social sector and entrepreneurs who address social and environmental problems in their businesses together to learn from and support one another.

After the lunch break, Dr. Jeffrey Robinson announced the creation of the ”NJ Social Innovation Institute  – ‘Creating Jobs Through Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship’”. This new collaborative effort will focus on connecting social entrepreneurs to the resources needed to execute their social idea successfully and in a sustainable way. The NJ Social Innovation Institute is designed to help nascent social entrepreneurs to develop their venture ideas into business plans and investment proposals. The initiative is six (6) months in duration and is provided in partnership with the Support Center for Nonprofit. For more information about the institute, click here.

The event was extremely interactive via social media as well. You can catch up with the conversation on Twitter using hash tag #NJSocEnt. These are just a few of the Twitter comments:

@CNicholaC: More and more people (are) realizing that business profits and social contributions are not mutually exclusive. #NJSocEnt

@websignia: “We’re not looking for reimbursement, we’re looking for concrete outcomes in our designated communities” -S. Hamilton of @PSEGCares  #NJSocEnt

@ellis_still: Craig Cuccia: “the question became how do we connect with the people who aren’t ready and give them the resources that they need?” #NJSocEnt

@RutgersBSchool: “Its all about how you can use entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social change.” – Professor @jrobinsonphd on stage #NJSocEnt #SocEnt

@ellis_still: Cheryl Dorsey: people tend to confuse being a founder with being a success. #NJSocEnt #newark

@dtogilvie: Vaughn McCoy @pseg spoke about Profits w/a Purpose @ the Social Entrepreneurship Summit in Newark, NJ #Njsocent

To learn more about the summit, or the NJ Social Innovation Institute , feel free to visit http://www.njsesummit.org/. Don’t forget to join their mailing list for periodic announcements and information.

To view more pictures of the summit, click here to go to my facebook page.

Question: How are you utilizing your gifts and ideas to make your community better?

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

____________________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

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