By T. Jeffery Conley and Sylvia B. Thomas
Nationally-recognized business experts from a range of sectors will descend upon Richmond for the 2012 Virginia Business Opportunity Fair (VBOF), the premier Mid-Atlantic, business-to-business event hosted by the Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council (VMSDC) May 6-8.
Virginia native Cameron Johnson will be the keynote speaker for the May 8th breakfast. Cameron Johnson has delivered his message of entrepreneurism in Japan and Australia, and hosted a television show in the U.K. This 27 year-old started his first business at his family’s home here in the Commonwealth at the age of 12 he netted $50,000-that year alone. He will offer global business insight that he gained as advisory board member for a Tokyo-based company-a post he took at age 15. By the time he graduated high school, this Virginia-based businessman had assets worth more than $1million. Johnson will share his insights and strategies for growing a business. “Put yourself out there,” he told Forbes in an interview. “Don’t be afraid of rejection. Don’t be afraid to ask for anything.”
Also on May 8th, headlining the luncheon, Andrés Tapia, president of Chicago-based Diversity Best Practices, will share his years of expertise in encouraging innovative approaches to building inclusive work environments. The former chief diversity officer at Hewitt is also author of “The Inclusion Paradox: The Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity.”
Tracey Jeter, president and chief executive officer of VMSDC, is eager to bring in business experts to share their broad range of experiences. “Our corporate members and minority business executives are most interested in hearing global insights, as our participants have a national and international base of clients and partners,” Jeter said.
Ying McGuire and Lisa Whaley Morris of VMSDC-certified minority firm Technology Integration Group (TIG) will lead the workshop “Going Presidential,” a primer on taking businesses to the international marketplace.
Keith Middleton and Rich Reinecke, will discuss one of the most important business topics: money. Both from Fahrenheit Financial, their workshop “Exploratory Committee” will focus on mastering the fundamentals.
Doña Storey will tell attendees what to do when “In the Hot Seat,” as they build brands and manage crises. Storey, president of govtips.biz and Quality Technical Services Inc. has decades of experience in working with federal government agencies.
Moses Foster, president and chief executive officer of West Cary Group will lead an informative and action-oriented session designed to help small business crystallize, refine, and articulate their corporate identity. Foster will discuss how to properly build a value proposition statement, provide techniques to enhance differentiation from the competitive set, and guide creation of marketing one-pagers that consistently outshine the competition.
Also as a part of the conference the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (MBEIC) will be hosting their statewide meeting. Guest speakers include:
Mark Cartwright, recently appointed by Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell to the post of Director of Supplier Diversity for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Cartwright is the first to hold this newly created position and comes to the Governor’s office five years after building and managing the supplier diversity program at Virginia Tech.
Kyle Kondik, Director of Communications for the Center for Politics. Kyle closely follows congressional and gubernatorial races and contributes to Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a political analysis website and newsletter created by Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato. He also responds to media inquiries and promotes Center for Politics events.
Bridget Bean will be the keynote speaker for the SBA 8(a) Update. Bean is the Acting Regional Administrator for the United States Small Business Administration and District Director of the Washington Metro Area District Office. As Regional Administrator for the Region 3, Bean is responsible for the delivery and management of SBA’s small business programs, financial assistance and business development program initiatives throughout the region.
This year’s VBOF, which returns to the city of Richmond for the first time since 2005 will be held at the newly-renovated Richmond Marriott, in revitalized downtown. This year’s VBOF theme, “Using Campaign Strategy to Grow Your Business and Build Supplier Relationships” focuses on a non-partisan approach to boosting businesses’ bottom line by increasing votes from customers. Serving as honorary chairman is city of Richmond Mayor, Dwight C. Jones.
“VMSDC members strongly and positively impact the city of Richmond and play a huge role in our efforts to Build a Better Richmond,” said Mayor Jones, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates.
“This is more than simply a symbolic post, “said Mayor Jones. If we are to truly excel in building a Tier One city, continue to have the city’s bond ratings upgraded by Wall Street and continue to invest in capital projects, we need to involve all segments of the community-major corporations, our minority-owned businesses, our universities and of course the government agencies. I’m thrilled to be a part of this synergy.”
A Black Tie Gala will celebrate VMSDC’s 35th anniversary by honoring the organization’s past presidents and supporters.
Entrepreneurs, corporate executives and government officials will form new alliances at VBOF, which features plenary sessions, one-on-one appointments with key decision makers at major corporations, best-practices workshops and match-maker activities to pair minority firms with larger corporations.
For info: Call 804-788-6490
What: Virginia Business Opportunity Fair
When: May 6-8, 2012
Where: Richmond Marriott
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