RALEIGH – For the second consecutive year, Shaw University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center is hosting a week-long celebration of black entrepreneurship in North Carolina. The agenda features talks, workshops and panels from local business and nonprofit leaders and the investors that fund them. A startup pitch competition is also included in the lineup.

The program will be held at several locations throughout downtown Raleigh on July 9-13.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center first opened January 2017 as a joint partnership between Shaw University and the Carolina Small Business Development Fund. The mission is to provide mentorship, resources, training and a workspace for students and community members building businesses in and around Shaw’s campus. The facility is in a 2,000-square-foot building positioned in the center of Southeast Raleigh.

In January, it received a $50,000 investment to expand its programming and client base—the funding was part of a $2 million grant awarded to the Carolina Small Business Development Fund by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Last year, the Center expanded its event offerings to include Black Entrepreneurship Week, which was held last July in Raleigh:

This year’s lineup features three keynotes and several breakout sessions throughout the course of the week—all held at different locations in downtown Raleigh.

The week will kick off on July 9 with a welcome from Carolina Small Business Development Fund Board Chair Tony Hayes, Shaw University Interim President Dr. Paulette Dillard and Raleigh City Councilman Corey Branch. This session will also feature an opening guest, PopSocial Founder Everette Taylor.

​The keynote address will be delivered by Benjamin Crump, a renowned civil rights attorney. As head of Ben Crump Law PLLC, he has represented several prolific cases, including that of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Robbie Tolan.

Later in the program, there will be an evening fireside chat with Dee C. Marshall, author, speaker, and CEO and founder of Diverse and Engaged, LLC, Girlfriends Pray Inc. and Yummy Life Coaching. She will discuss her entrepreneurial journey in a fireside chat led by Sherrell Dorsey of ThePLUG and BLKTECHCLT.

Workshop sessions include:

Tell Your Story, Build Your Brand: Social Media Strategist Quintin T. Murphy will demonstrate best practices of online branding and engagement.

Principles and Practices of Nonprofit Excellence: Tori Willis of Shaw University will lead a workshop on starting, managing, funding and maintaining a nonprofit organization.

Mindsets and Tools for Solving Big Problems: Anne Jones and Dan Gonzalez, co-founders of District C, will lead a workshop on the various approaches to problem-solving.

Making Your Business Model Work: Richard Moore of Carolina Small Business Development Fund will demonstrate how to ensure a business model is effective before presenting it to potential investors.

Panel sessions include:

Black-owned Business Success Stories, with Michelle Keaton Barrow of Keaton Barrow Realty, Cheryle Lakes of Blooming Baby, Carnela Hill of CR Hill Design Group and McDonald’s Franchise Owner William Holder. Moderated by Amber Bond of Carolina Small Business Development Fund.

A Conversation with Black Tech Entrepreneurs, with Sherrell Dorsey of ThePLUG and BLKTECHCLT, Doug Speight of American Underground, Dr. Deborah Stroman of UNC, Malik Khan of Pointclick Technologies and Reggie McCrimmon of HQ Raleigh. Wilson Lester of Greensboro Community Development Fund will be moderating.

Women’s Leadership Summit, with Jesica Averhart of Leadership Triangle, Dee McDougal of Pacific Western Bank, Naya Powell of Red Hat, Awamary Lowe-Khan of Carolina Small Business Development Fund and Gab Smith of CAM Raleigh. Stephanie Swepson-Twitty will moderate.

The Business of the Arts: A Discussion with Black Women Artists, with Kaili Ingram of Eleven03 Photography, Brenda Womble of North Carolina Central University, Mamie Wilkins of Cockamamie Jewelry and Jasmine Flood of RIADA ADAIR. Film Producer Jasmine Bowles will moderate the panel.

Access to Capital, with Tijan Sallah of BB&T, Jan Davis of Davis Growth Partners, Kel Landis of Plexus Capital, Anthony Lewis of Sangus Partners, Thom Ruhe of NC IDEA Foundation and W. Donald Harrington of Carolina Small Business Development. Henry McKoy of North Carolina Central University will moderate.

A pitch competition will be held at the Red Hat Annex on July 13. After participating in a startup bootcamp presented by The Black Upstart throughout the week, 15 entrepreneurs will compete for $3,000 in cash and an audience choice award.

An afterparty with food, music and networking will close out Black Entrepreneurship Week from 6-8 p.m. on July 13.

If you’d like to attend, you can register for the week’s events on the IEC’s Eventbrite page. Every session is free-of-charge.