More than 1,000 of the country’s leading entrepreneurs, business funding sources, and corporate executives are gathered in Houston for the Black Enterprise 2017 Entrepreneurs Summit.

Running, through Saturday, May 20 at the Marriott Marquis (1777 Walker St.), the summit boasts a powerhouse lineup of some of the nation’s most accomplished and celebrated entrepreneurs and motivational speakers.

Confirmed guests include Mayor Sylvester Turner, award-winning actor Hill Harper, singers/entrepreneurs Yolanda Adams and Patti LaBelle, Windsor Village UMC Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell and CAMAC International chairman Kase Lawal.

Attendees will have countless opportunities to meet, network, and learn from hundreds of entrepreneurs, including angel investors, from around the country with a focus on innovation, capitalization, monetization, and growth.

Highlights include:

  • A general session with multibillionaire Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries and Thurgood Marshall College Fund President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, as they engage in a critical discussion on how to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurial innovators and value creators by harnessing the proven potential of HBCUs and expanding the availability of youth entrepreneurship programs.
  • The Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition hosted by AT&T will award $10,000 to one of 10 finalists who will pitch their business ideas to a panel of accomplished entrepreneurs, including Black Enterprise CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr.
  • The ABC “Shark Tank” Diversity Tour will be holding an open casting call to identify entrepreneurs ready to pitch their ideas for an investment on the hit business reality In addition, the session “Why it Pays to Swim With the Sharks” will feature entrepreneurs who experienced success – and learned critical lessons – by appearing on the show.

The summit will also provide attendees with breakthrough ideas on innovation, vision, and growth strategy in high-powered sessions on critical business topics.

“The Entrepreneurs Summit is already well established as a must-attend event for entrepreneurs who want to actually win as entrepreneurs, not just start and own a business,” said BE founder Earl Graves.

“However, bringing the event to Houston for the first time ever promises to raise the bar of opportunity and innovation even higher. That’s because Houston is clearly positioned to stake its claim as America’s next great Black business mecca.”

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