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Revive Black Business Summit connects entrepreneurs to capital, resources & opportunities

“This was the best and most informative business summit event that I have ever been part of,” said Chef Wilson Calixte, owner of Le Voltaire French Restaurant, one of Omaha’s top restaurants.

“What’s happening in Omaha is the prototype for the nation,” said George Fraser, CEO of FraserNet, the PowerNetworking Conference and member of the National Black Business Hall of Fame. “Join this local and national Network, keep building and stay the course.”

Fraser is known across the world as one of the top experts on building highly effective and productive networks.

He joined Dr. Pamela Jolly, a nationally recognized thought leader on wealth building and a strategic advisor for business accelerators, as keynote speakers for the virtual Revive Black Business Summit.

Both Jolly and Fraser, along with other nationally known Black business leaders and entrepreneurs, have agreed to join the Revive Black Business Network Board of Advisors and to extend special offers to its members.

The Business Summit was hosted on Saturday, January 15th by Willie and Yolanda Barney, co owners of Revive Omaha!, Revive Center and Carver Legacy Center.   2022 marks 14 years since they launched Revive Magazine and 9 years since they formed the Revive Black Business Luncheon.  January 15th also marked the 93rd birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We have talked for years about launching the formal Business Network, but put it on hold as we worked on other community projects and businesses,” said Willie Barney.  “We believe now is the time to move forward and build on and expand our local and national partnerships.  To launch the Business Network on Dr. King’s birthday is incredibly significant.  2022 will be a breakthrough year.”

Jolly kicked off the Summit with an insightful presentation on the State of Black Business, emerging opportunities on the national level and the importance of working together.

“My research shows the benefit of building wealth together and elevating the standard of how we do business,” said Jolly.  “We need to be prepared for the current and future opportunities.”

If the response from attendees is any indicator, the Black Business Network is an idea whose time has come.

“The experience was absolutely amazing and very informative.  It was like I stumbled upon a high-level business master class led by owners and subject matter experts that were so willing to share their personal best practices and success strategies,” said Tim Clark, CEO of Clark Connection Group.

Clark also delivered a powerful message of his own during a session on Effective Networking.  “Be intentional.  Be credible.  Build trust.  Listen.  Listen.  Listen.”

“The information presented was extremely valuable for business owners,” said Marcella Dial who attended along with her husband, Howard.  “We got started with our business, but felt stuck.  This event helped us to see ways to move forward.”

The Summit featured some of Omaha’s most successful Black business owners and entrepreneurs.

Carmen Tapio, CEO of North End Teleservices, has grown from 0 to 400 employees in just over five years.  She shared her journey and how she overcame initial rejections from banks to secure the funding she needed to expand.  Tapio said she is aiming to create jobs for 1,000+ and continue changing lives through her business. She also encouraged attendees not to give up.

Candice Price, a serial entrepreneur including co-ownership of Home Team Auto Sales and Sapphire Grill, offered insights on generating multiple streams of income and highlighted the services available through the new non-profit she leads, Grow Nebraska.  “Having multiple streams of income was a blessing for us during the pandemic as we had to put our food truck in storage.”

Richard Webb, probably best known as the former CEO of the 100 Black Men and current CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands, shared his experiences as a successful business owner and real estate investor with his firm, Abundant Living.  “You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars attending seminars, it is possible to make money by investing in real estate.  Develop relationships.”

Gladys Harrison, owner of Big Mama’s Kitchen and Catering, spoke about being innovative and reinventing your business in the midst of challenges.  With most Black businesses struggling and 41% closing during the pandemic, Gladys reported that 2020 was their best financial year in the history of the company as they expanded on partnerships.  “It was the partnerships that allowed us to grow when others were closing down.”

Calvin Jones, CEO of Lions Gate Security, shared some best practices for establishing relationships and doing business with corporations and public entities, including some of Omaha’s largest organizations.  “Persistence.  You can’t be afraid to knock on the door and keep knocking.”

“What I experienced at the Summit was powerful, educational and dynamic,” said Bridget Hadley, Economic Development Manager for the City of Omaha.  “The depth of experience among all of the panelists makes Omaha and our community rich.  The exchange of information and nuggets of wisdom shared were practical, yet invaluable, and ready for implementation.”

“It was incredibly inspiring to hear from these successful business owners,” said Yolanda Barney.  “Being in business, especially during a time like this, can be challenging and you can feel isolated.  This let’s you know that you can still move forward and staying connected is vitally important.”

That is one of the main goals for formalizing the Revive Black Business Network.  The group keeps businesses connected, shares information about resources and opportunities, identifies funding sources and provides a platform to communicate successes and best practices.

In addition to business owners and entrepreneurs, the speakers and panelists on the summit included a wide range of service providers and support organizations available to assist with information, access to credit and capital, training and technical assistance.

BC Clark – Nebraska Enterprise Fund, Candice Price – Grow Nebraska, Manne Cook – Spark Capital, Bridget Hadley – City of Omaha, and Ernest White – Carver Legacy Center all highlighted different forms of funding including grants, loans, TIF and equity.  All of the organizations also offer training and special events.  Karine Sokpah, founder of the Midlands African Chamber also highlight opportunities for entrepreneurs to win $10,000 through the Pitch Black competition.

“When we started the Revive Black Business Network, we wanted to make sure business owners and entrepreneurs knew what resources and opportunities were available to them,” said Willie Barney.  “We have updated the Roadmap to Entrepreneurship in Omaha and we will have a consistent location for these activities to happen at the HUB inside the Carver Legacy Center and also at the Revive Center Markets.”

Two other sessions focused on helping businesses to get prepared with a solid foundation.  Malinda Williams, financial advisor with MVEST Partners shared tips for getting personal and business balance sheets in order.

Martine Quartey, owner of Advance Tax Solutions with 20+ years of experience, walked participants through key aspects needed to manage taxes professionally.  “Too many business don’t handle their taxes correctly, but we can help them build a solid foundation.”

Dr. Martin Williams of Martin Williams International and DreamKeepers focused on existing business owners and presented key concepts he has used over the years to help businesses scale.  “Creating successful businesses is about culture.”

The final session included specific opportunities to do business with corporations and public entities.  Winsley Durand from the Greater Omaha Chamber/REACH, Gerald Kuhn from the City of Omaha and Cameron Gales of Jacobs Construction all provided valuable contacts and pathways to  get in the door.  James Wright from Congressman Don Bacon’s office also discussed ways the office could be helpful.

“I thought the meeting was excellence in motion.  So much good information and resources within our own community,” said Sophia Jordan, owner of Black Bottom Biscotti.  “I am inspired to keep going and do business on purpose within our own community even more so.”

Fraser who closed the day off with a powerful keynote and an extended “post conference” session, emphasized some final key points.

“We can create jobs, build our communities and prepare the next generation,” said Fraser.  “If you do not have a system, you do not have a business.  What is your system?  What is your promise?”

He added, “We must connect, grow and prosper so we can learn, earn and return. Omaha has the opportunity to show the way.”

It was the perfect ending to the Summit. Creating moments like this on a consistent basis is one of the main goals for the Business Network.

“When do you ever have an opportunity to have George Fraser, a living legend, on a live zoom for an hour personally answering questions and sharing his experiences and insights?” said Calvin Jones.

The Revive Black Business Network will host meetings, summits, workshops, luncheons, conferences, expos and other events throughout the year.

The Black Business Summit was hosted by Revive! Omaha, Revive Center and Carver Legacy Center.  The virtual event was managed by RealQuick Solutions.

Learn more about the Black Business Summit here.

Community Features

2024 Revive Omaha Black Business Guide

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Community Features

New cohorts prepare to launch…Leadership, Fund Development, Wealth Building & Career Advancement

OMAHA, Neb.

Great News!  After announcing four cohorts late last year, the Empowerment Network decided to delay the launch of the initiatives as they ran into the holiday season, received formal notice of their award of $10 million through the North and South Omaha Recovery Plan and continued the national collaboration with their partner cities introduced at last year’s African-American Leadership Summit.

The Network is now prepared to move forward with the four capacity-building cohort opportunities and their national strategic partners and advisors will be in Omaha for the Rebuilding the Village Conference.

Keys to Fund Development to Make Your Vision a Reality & Intro to Cohort

Anna Barber, fundraising expert that has helped to raise hundreds of millions of dollars including for the Smithsonian’s National Black History Museum in Washington D.C., will lead a six-month cohort on Fund Development:  building a donor base to make your vision a reality.

Barber will share insights gained through her work with major universities, the Museum, Obama Foundation and other national clients.  Participants will develop a comprehensive step by step plan to build and maintain a strong, diversified donor base.  In this session, Barber will provide an overview of key elements to fundraising success and share an overview of the upcoming fund development cohort.

 

Collaborative, Transformation Leadership and Powerful Storytelling & Intro to Cohort

Suzan Hart, one of world’s top storytellers and presenters, will launch a Collaborative Leadership and Storytelling cohort:  Maximize Opportunities with the Power of Your Story.

Participants will learn more about the transformational power of collaboration and enhance their presentation skills by defining purpose, understanding their value, and releasing the power of their story.  In this session, Hart will share key concepts to help you develop a mindset to maximize your leadership opportunities and provide an overview of the new cohort.

 

Advancing Your Career with Key Principles from Redefine the Game & Intro to Cohort

Dr. Jefferey Robinson of BCT Partners will return to Omaha to help launch the 5th Cohort of the Redefine the Game Institute, an innovative career advancement and leadership development program. Over 150 have participated with most receiving promotions and increased compensation, expanded career opportunities or leadership positions within new organizations.

In this session, Dr. Robinson will guide you towards growing and making the most of your network and provide an overview of the next RTG cohort. You will also hear from RTG Alumni regarding their own path career paths and stepping into impactful leadership roles.

 

Understanding Your Wealth Building Code and Developing Your Plan & Intro to Cohort

Dr. Pamela Jolly a nationally recognized wealth-building strategist returns to launch the third cohort of the Legacy Wealth Initiative.  Graduates of Legacy Wealth have developed wealth plans, saved thousands of dollars, become homeowners, launched and purchased businesses, invested individually and collectively and made contributions to their community.  Dr. Jolly will review the key elements to develop and implement your own wealth building plan and provide an overview of the upcoming Legacy Wealth Cohort.

Register for the 17th Annual Rebuilding the Village Conference and come join us for the introduction of the new cohorts.  Learn More and Register here

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Community Features

Dream Big! Eric Thomas coming to Omaha June 7th

OMAHA, Neb. –  On June 7, the Empowerment Network will take over CHI Health Center Omaha & Hilton Omaha Downtown for the 17th Annual Rebuilding the Village Conference and Luncheon. This year’s event also features the highly anticipated Revive Omaha Black Business Expo, highlighting the importance of supporting and empowering black-owned businesses in the community. The conference kicks off at 8:00 am.

Big Dreams and Collective Visions!  The luncheon will feature an energizing session from keynote speaker from New York Times best-selling author, educator, motivational guru and international business phenomenon, Eric Thomas, Ph.D.

As an inspirational speaker, Thomas has made a successful career working with and coaching Fortune 500 companies, top athletes, students and audiences around the world. A visionary, Thomas helps others walk in their purpose. Through a thorough examination and application of these same principles, his conference attendees continue to maximize their successes both in the workplace and at home. As a husband, father and philanthropist, Thomas aims to improve the lives of others through self-empowerment, self-assessment and consistent execution.

The Rebuilding the Village Conference and Luncheon has long been recognized as a premier gathering for community leaders, activists, entrepreneurs and stakeholders to come together to address key issues facing underserved communities. With a focus on career advancement, leadership development, DEI, wealth building, entrepreneurship, community building and more, the conference aims to foster collaboration and drive positive change in Omaha and beyond.

“The Rebuild the Village Conference and Revive Omaha Black Business Expo continues to evolve,” said Willie Barney, CEO and founder of the Empowerment Network. “Through this year’s event, we are focusing on the best ways to build economic strength and equity, support business owners, encourage homeownership, and invest in economic development and revitalization. Our community wants to be a part of the development of our city. Our Conference and Black Business Expo will equip attendees with the tools needed to thrive.”

Dream Big video from Eric Thomas

Central to this year’s event is the Revive Omaha Black Business Expo, a dynamic showcase of black-owned businesses from across the region. Attendees will have the chance to network with entrepreneurs, learn about innovative products and services, and support the local economy.

Backed by the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, the Empowerment Network works to build a safer environment for all residents by increasing educational and career success and reducing violent crime. The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance leads a cross-sector national call-to-action focused on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.

In 2023, the Rebuild the Village Conference attracted more than 1,100 attendees. Of those attendees, nearly 40 percent were students. With the help of last year’s keynote speaker, businessman, NBA legend and philanthropist Erving “Magic” Johnson, Rebuild the Village was able to raise $90,000 during an unexpected auction at the end of Johnson’s speech. Last year’s event also drew in leaders from across the nation, including key cities like Atlanta, Ga., Chicago, Ill., Denver, Co., Kansas City,  Mo., New Orleans, La. and Tulsa, Okla.

In addition to the Black Business Expo, the conference will feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and interactive sessions led by industry experts and community leaders. To learn more about the event, including ticket prices and sponsorship opportunities, please visit https://www.rtvomaha.com/. Registration closes Monday, June 3.

 

About the Empowerment Network

The Empowerment Network is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing economic, social and civic progress within Omaha’s African American community, North Omaha and the region. Through collaborative efforts and innovative initiatives, the Empowerment Network strives to create opportunities for empowerment and transformation in every zip code and neighborhood in the City of Omaha and other national communities.

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