RALEIGH – A group of Black business leaders has come together to launch the first-ever Black Business Collective Summit.

The free virtual event will be held today, starting at 9.30am, and is hosted by Creative Allies, a minority-owned, female-led marketing agency based in Raleigh.

It’s the first of several programmed initiatives funded by an NC IDEA grant that is aimed at supporting Black entrepreneurs across the state.

The event will feature 12 speakers covering a range of topics – mindset, funding, sales, marketing, and money.They include The Diversity Movement’s Donald Thompson (a weekly contributor to WRAL TechWire on Wednesdays), Substantial Media’s Greg Hedgepeth and Stunt Digital’s Austin Henley, among others.

WRAL TechWire’s Chantal Allam had the chance to speak with Creative Allies’ CEO Amie Thompson. Here’s what she had to say:

  • This is an exciting new initiative. Who is the target audience?

The target audience will be entrepreneurs who are looking for education on some of the key success factors to running a business. Black entrepreneurs are one of the fastest-growing groups in the United States. However, we are also the quickest to have our businesses shuttered within the first five years of service.

This event will bring in experts from across NC which to give the audience an opportunity to learn how to survive and thrive as a Black business owner.

There is a lot of information available to entrepreneurs and many organizations supporting this ecosystem. However, running a business requires continuous learning and identifying other business owners to add to your circle to learn from and teach.

Creative Allies CEO Amie Thompson; credit: Rich Font Studios

  • Why is this the best way to reach Black entrepreneurs?

Hosting a virtual event is a way for us to reach entrepreneurs in several areas of the state and bring together speakers from various areas as well.

  • The event is funded by an NC IDEA grant. Tell us more.

Earlier this year, we received a grant in the amount of $10,000 to create programming to educate and empower black entrepreneurs in our state. The grant was from NC IDEA’s Black Entrepreneurship Council. There were a total of 14 black-led companies that received a similar grant to promote black entrepreneurship and provide education to a group that is typically disenfranchised.

  • What do you hope to achieve?

There are a few goals that have for this event. For our attendees, our goals are to provide education around five core business areas: entrepreneurial mindset, small business funding, sales fundamentals, marketing basics and money management. We also want to highlight to the attendees business owners with expertise to share that they may not be familiar with.

For Creative Allies, our goals are to be more involved in the black business ecosystem in the state starting with this event, identify new organizations to partner with in support of this ecosystem, and bring more awareness to our company’s purpose of helping other businesses be successful through marketing.