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Stories that affect our business community.

In Partnership with Essence Fest
USBC to Host a Pitch Competition:
"Pitch City" 
July 1st | New Orleans | Essence Fest
A Business Conference Where the Management Tips Come From Master P!
2013 BET Experience - BET Revealed Seminars
By: Andrew Nusca
June 21, 2017

With more than 450,000 attendees, the Essence Festival is a sight to behold. The annual bash, put on by our colleagues at Essence magazine in New Orleans, always features an incredible collection of performances by luminaries from the music and entertainment business. (Headliners  this year: Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, Chance the Rapper. Not too shabby.)

But the festival, scheduled this year for June 29 to July 2, is more than evening spectacle. The daytime program events inside the convention center span food, beauty, and-this year especially- business and entrepreneurship.

Essence will host its first "Path to Power" conference that's free for festival attendees and perfect for Fortune readers. There will be more than 40 sessions and workshops on the agenda for people to network and learn, covering topics such as brand marketing, startups, partnering with corporations, pivoting your company, sustainable business models, and government technology. Good stuff.

There are some great speakers, too. Among them: Carla Harris of Morgan Stanley, Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter, Jessica Matthews of Uncharted Play, Bari Williams of StubHub, and-my personal favorite-Percy Miller, a.k.a. Master P, the New Orleans native son and rapper turned investor and executive. (Say uhh!)

Essence partnered with the National Urban League, Minority Business Development Agency, U.S. Black Chambers, #YesWeCode (The Dream Corps), and Women's Business Enterprise  National Council to put on the event.
Elsewhere at the festival, there's a Shark Tank-style competition called "Pitch City" in partnership with the U.S. Black Chambers Inc. and, on the festival's Empowerment stage, a conversation with Doug McMillon-CEO of the No. 1 company on the Fortune 500, Walmart. Not a bad way to spend a long weekend in the Big Easy.


Thank You SCBM Attendees, Sponsors, Family & Friends
2017 USBC Conference. Panel discussion on HBCU's & Entrepreneurship. Pictured left to right: Dr. David Wilson, President of Morgan State University; Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, President of Central State University; Ron Busby, President of USBC; Dr. Roslyn Artis, President of Florida Memorial University; Dr. Ronald Mason, President of University of the District of Columbia.
Thank you to our invaluable conference attendees, sponsors, partners, family and friends for making our 7th annual School of Chamber & Business Management Conference (SCBM) the best yet. This year unlike any other year, we created 3 conference tracks dedicated to educating and engaging 1) Chamber of Commerce Executives, 2) Established Business Owners, and 3) Millennial Entrepreneurs. We heard first hand from attendees during our Conference Recap Session about the benefits and connections they made during SCBM. Whether it was receiving political insights from Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), inspiration from former NBA Player & Business Executive Isiah Thomas, business success advice from the President of Essence, Michelle Ebanks; or advocacy strategies from Civil Rights Legend Vernon Jordan; this year's conference proved to offer a powerful dose of business education, inspiration, and insights to help Chamber Leaders, Business Owners, and Millennial Entrepreneurs grow their ventures. 
As the voice of the nation's Black business owners, we pride ourselves on our annual conference that unites entrepreneurs, business leaders, and African American Chambers of Commerce to work collectively towards the distinct goal of increasing the number of Black-owned businesses. The success of our conference would not have been possible without you. On behalf of the entire USBC staff, thank you for attending this year's conference and thank you for your continued support. We welcome you to join our thriving membership.
In the Spirit of Success, 
Ron Busby, Sr.
U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
SCBM Conference Highlights:
7th Annual School of Chamber & Business Management
June 14, 2017 - June 17, 2017 | Washington, DC.
Left to Right: Emcee Angela Stribling, Lifetime Legacy Award Recipient Rev. Jesse Jackson, USBC President Ron Busby 
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) keynotes a powerful message during the Advocacy Luncheon

Ben Jealous shares inspirational personal story of triumph

Ron Busby facilitates an armchair discussion with Civil Rights Legend Vernon Jordan

Michele Thornton, Senior VP of BET has a candid business conversation with Michelle Ebanks, President of Essence. 

Ron Busby receives a gift from former NBA Player & Business Executive Isiah Thomas
USBC Awards Gala Dinner Reception 

USBC staff & conference planners along with USBC President Ron Busby during the Awards Gala

Chamber Leaders:
Here's Your Opportunity to Receive up to $10k in Funding
Deadline: June 1st
2017 USBC & Wells Fargo Chamber Microgrant 
The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) is proud to partner with Wells Fargo to announce a special funding program for its Chamber Members. According to the recent 2015 USBC Policy Priorities Survey, the top two concerns for Black businesses in America are: Access to Capital, and Entrepreneur Training. The USBC & Wells Fargo partnership will provide $70,000 in a series of microgrants to USBC affiliated Chambers nationwide. 

Application Due Date: Thursday June 1, 2017 (11:59PM EST)
  • Must be an existing program targeted toward strengthening your small business members.
  • Recipients must be willing to provide progress reports and present at a national or regional event describing the use of the funds and updates on the program.
  • Must be a current dues-paying member of the USBC.
Note: If you are already receiving funding from Wells Fargo, you are still able to apply for this grant.
Grant Amounts:
  • TIER I: Funding Level $10,000 (4 available)
  • TIER II: Funding Level $5,000 (1 available)
  • TIER III: Funding Level $2,500 (10 available)
  • The grant funding timeline is one full year.
  • Grant recipients will be recognized during the 2017 USBC School of Chamber & Business Management Luncheon on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Award winners must have a member present to receive the grant.
  • The first half of the funds will be issued at the beginning of the grant cycle by July 2017
  • A mid-year progress report accompanied with a presentation will be due by December 2017.
  • The second half of funds will be issued by January, 2018 pending the submission and performance indicated in the midway progress report.
  • Grant funding cycle ends and final report due - June, 2018
  • Further details will be provided in the award letter.

House Small Business Committee Hearing:
Empowering Small Businesses- The Accelerator Model
On Wednesday, May 3rd , the House Small Business Committee held a hearing titled, "Empowering Small Businesses: The Accelerator Model." The hearing focused on how business accelerators assist entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses grow and create jobs, while also offering Members of the Committee the opportunity to hear from organizations that are directly involved in offering private sector resources to small businesses. Organized in a way to fast-track business expansion, accelerators offer small businesses the opportunity to interact with top business professionals. This is an issue of interest to the Committee as it considers ways to help create an environment to facilitate a greater role for accelerators.


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