CVMSDC MBEs and Corporate Partners Encouraged to re-EMERGE at 2020 Virtual Conference

The Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council's two-day event, titled re-EMERGE: The Future of Your Business, took place Dec. 2-3 using the virtual conference platform Virtual Fusions.

Charlotte, NC, December 13, 2020 --( Participants at the 2020 Virtual Business Opportunity Conference (BOC) and MBE Summit, hosted by the Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council, broke barriers this year, bringing guest speakers, panelists, and workshop hosts together in a completely virtual conference environment. The two-day event, titled re-EMERGE: The Future of Your Business, took place Dec. 2-3 using the virtual conference platform Virtual Fusions. Virtual Cafe Networking opened at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, with the online tradeshow open all day on both days and conference sessions running until early afternoon.

CVMSDC President and CEO Dominique Milton said that the true spirit of an entrepreneur is resiliency, so the 2020 re-EMERGE conference was designed to buoy support for business owners who have been challenged by the COVID-19 economic pressures and business closures. “In 2020, many corporations and business owners made pivots and are thriving; while others still face challenges to re-open,” Milton said. “If you built it once before, you have the skills and fortitude to rebuild. We wanted to help companies re-EMERGE in 2021 stronger than before.”

Conference events included 11 workshops, panel discussions, MBE-2-MBE networking, an awards ceremony, a live auction, silent auction, corporate-to-MBE matchmaking, and a construction-only matchmaking event. The keynote speaker was Dr. Alva Taylor, a business strategist and consultant at the Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business. Other guest presenters included political strategist and motivational speaker Anton Gunn and business coach Quinn Conyers.

Award winners included: Vincent Tucker of Quality Moving Services – MBE Class I; Geoff Foster of Core Technology – MBE Class II; Bernard Robinson of Networking Technologies + Support – MBE Class III; Chiquitha Lloyd of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Regional Corporation of the Year; Louise Connell of BMW, Advocate of the Year; Theresa Johnson of First Citizens Bank, Buyer of the Year; Egwu Nwankpah of Bank of America, Corporate Presidential Award; and V.K. Fields of PR PROS, MBE Presidential Award.

Jerry Knighton, Assistant Vice President for Access and Equity and also Executive Director of Supplier Diversity for Clemson University, said: “My involvement with the Council has allowed Clemson to take advantage of many opportunities to network with MBEs on the local, regional and national levels to broaden our outreach efforts and increase participation. As a higher education institution, we were also excited about the opportunity to engage students at Clemson and other institutions in activities to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. Our efforts would not have been nearly as impactful without the support and expertise of the Council at this year’s re-EMERGE event.” The re-EMERGE conference title sponsors were Bank of America and Clemson University.

Hundreds attended the online event, including high school and college students who have future aspirations for entrepreneurship. As part of the Council’s "Next Generation of Our Work" series, the re-EMERGE conference hosted a business pitch competition for young entrepreneurs to focus on solving a problem or meeting a need in the marketplace. LaSonya Berry of McPherson, Berry & Associates and Harold Hughes of Bandwagon were guest speakers for the NextGen session. Contestants were asked to submit an application, along with a 5-minute video, making their best business pitch for a panel of judges. Winners of the competition were: 3rd place, Gabby Goodwin of Confidence Look & Learn Hair School, an online styling and tutorial subscription service; 2nd place, Bilal Issafou of Unchained, an app designed to connect HBCU students with potential internship and employment opportunities; and the 1st place winners were Aukema Fuller and Lydia Yilekal of Posse Empowerment, a program that encourages girls to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM).

The Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council (CVMSDC) is one of 23 regional affiliate councils of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). The Council is a membership organization of major corporations, financial institutions, government agencies and universities that operate within North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The Carolinas-Virginia MSDC is a non-profit corporation chartered to enhance business opportunities for minority-owned companies by providing support through developing mutually beneficial networking opportunities with corporate members and promoting minority business development.
V.K. Fields