The Loews Miami Beach Hotel played host to the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, a three-day event featuring entrepreneur panels, business workshops, elevator pitch competitions, and entertainment. Nationwide Insurance had a major footprint throughout the weekend, which kicked off with a conversation between Black Enterprise’s senior vice president, Alfred Edmond Jr. and pastor Jamal Bryant, of Empowerment Temple Church in Baltimore. Pastor Bryant discussed the role of Black business amid the backdrop of problems facing the Black community such as education, police policies, and unemployment.
Following Pastor Bryant’s talk, Nationwide hosted a very insightful panel titled “Financial Habits of Successful Business Owners: Lessons Learned.” Panelist Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter stated “You’ll never know everything. You have to get started.” She also shared some wise words regarding an entrepreneur’s perspective on money. “Money is an energy. It has to flow in and out. You can’t hoard it and you can’t throw it away. You don’t get as excited about money when you realize you can have $137,000 one day and $37 the next.”
Panelist Mike James, president and chief sales officer for PartnersFinancial reminded patrons that access to capital is not as difficult as you might think. James said, “Activate your financial network. There are people and institutions around you that can help.” To that end, the third and final panelist on this topic, Jana Woodhouse, senior marketing director of the Manhattan branch of World Financial suggested attendees, “Find a mentor that can encourage you and give sound feedback.”
The weekend provides a plethora of great advice, admonishments, and best practices for both budding and seasoned entrepreneurs. Some hard truths came from Miss Jessie’s co-founder and author Miko Branch, who conducted a business master class with Black Enterprise editorial director, Caroline Clarke. Miko affirmed the popular notion that it is important to do something you love, but she also shared hard lessons like realizing that it was important to purchase real estate after she ended up with a $17K tax bill. Not to mention the time she and her sister lost their business and had to start over from scratch. Through it all Miko shared some anecdotes she gathered along the way, like the importance of saving 50 percent of what she earned, and reinvesting 50 percent back into the business.
Another highlight of the conference was a conversation with Quintin Primo of Capri Investment Group. Surprisingly humble, Primo discussed building a billion-dollar business from the ground up. In the early stages of his entrepreneurial pursuits, a $30 million dollar deal fell through forcing him out of business. Primo ended up over $500,000 in debt and his very supportive but prudent wife put him on a $5 a day spending budget until he picked up the pieces. With a $3.6 billion dollar company and a personal net worth estimated at $300,000 million, life has certainly improved for Primo, but he offered a few insights into to his secret formula. First, he noted that “Business is designed to serve a societal need. If you don’t serve a need, you won’t be in business long.” Secondly, Primo discussed the importance of seeing himself as the very best. If he had settled for the classification as an MBE (minority business enterprise) he would have been in the $20 million dollar pool. By competing in the general market, he was able to access the $500 million dollar pool.
There was so much happening throughout the weekend that no one could do it all, but after a full day of conferences and intriguing elevator pitch competitions, summit patrons were ready to take in some Miami nightlife. The early part of the evening was kicked off by Nationwide featuring a performance by Raheem DeVaughn, with hip-hop icon Big Tigger in the DJ booth.
Check out more images from the weekend in our photo gallery.