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Published:  Wednesday, March 2, 2022

‘Get your finances in order first and amazing opportunities will be available to you’ was the core message heard at the Revive Center at 24th and Lake last Saturday.

One of the critical keys to success for business owners and entrepreneurs is having strong financials, personally and professionally.

The February edition of the Revive Black Business Summit was dedicated to building wealth, business credit, investments and gaining strong banking relationships.

“I’m thankful for another great response for the Revive Black Business Summit,” said Willie Barney, co-owner and co-publisher of Revive Omaha and co-owner of the Revive Center.

“Between the first two sessions we’ve had over 100 Black business owners, entrepreneurs and support organizations engaged.  We’re going topic by topic and connecting participants with information and resources.”

The session held on Saturday, February 26th was a hybrid event including in-person and virtual attendees.  It was the first time the Revive Black Business Network has gathered in-person since February of 2020, just before the pandemic started.

National speakers included strategic business partners for the Revive Black Business Network, Tawanna Black and Dr. George Fraser.

Black is the CEO and founder of the Center for Economic Inclusion which recently secured a five million grant to support business owned by Black and brown women in the state of Minnesota.

She emphasized the importance of individuals knowing and understanding their purpose and the values of their company as they consider various forms of capital and investors.

“As banks and investors are reviewing your credentials, you should be reviewing theirs as well,” said Black.  “Your business has value.”

She also encouraged Black business owners to consider angel investors if it makes sense for their business.

“Majority companies use this as a key ingredient for success,” said Black.  “Most of our businesses don’t know about or have access to venture capital.  We need to change that.”

The Black Business Summits have proven to be of value to attendees based on the comprehensive feedback from current and future business owners.

“This has been one of the greatest business summits that I have attended,” said Karnetta Rushing retired former Vice President at First National Bank.

“It was extremely informational,” said Chef Jamil Djibril Bah traore, who leads both a for-profit business, House of Bah and a non-profit organization, Eat N Talk Africa.

Fraser, CEO of FraserNet and the PowerNetworking Conference returned as a cohost and keynote speaker once again for the second summit and delivered another powerful message.

“If you don’t have a system, you don’t have a business,” Fraser reminded the participants.  “And, you don’t build a successful business without building people.”

Fraser’s message always resonates with the group.

“I thank each of you for your dedication and sharing your knowledge, this has been truly amazing and I’m taking notes on steps to help build myself and build my community,” said virtual attendee, Shawnita Mack.

Local speakers included Nicka Johnson, owner and founder of Budget to Success; Ernest White, First Vice President of American National Bank; Richard Webb, owner of Abundant Living; and, Earl Johnson of EverGreen Capital Management.

Winsley Durand of the Greater Omaha Chamber and Jim Reiff of Nebraska Enterprise Fund rounded out the event by providing overviews of the funding, services, training and networking opportunities their organizations have available.

The sessions have been well attended and appear to be making a major impact as participants are asking for more frequent opportunities.

“We should do this monthly, if not at least quarterly,” said Bridget Hadley, economic development manager for the City of Omaha.

“Thank you, Yolanda and Willie, for putting together another great business summit,” stated Linda Davis, owner of The New Beginnings Transitional Living Homes, LLC.

“I appreciate how your organization continually gives back and supports the Black community.  As a business owner, this information is invaluable.”

Willie and Yolanda’s plan for 2022 is to continue hosting Summits on a monthly basis with different speakers and topics of most interest to attendees.  For those looking to attend the upcoming events, Willie suggests you mark your calendar for the 4th Saturday of each month and stay connected to

Black business owners and entrepreneurs can also become formal members of the Revive Black Business Network to take advantage of all of the opportunities and resources being provided throughout the year.



Community Features

Free Lead Testing in East Omaha


Lead is a naturally occurring metal that is often found in soil, paint produced before 1978, older pipes, toys and even food. When it enters the body, its effects can be toxic, causing neurological and developmental damage and effecting organs, such as the lungs and kidneys.

When it comes to lead, there is no safe level.  Children are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning, as their bodies absorb higher concentrations of lead than adults.  This can cause permanent damage to their cognitive and physical development.

  • Due to historic lead air pollution deposits, the eastern part of Omaha is designated as an EPA Superfund site. Therefore, properties located in this site are eligible for free soil sampling and testing.
  • If the concentration of lead in the soil exceeds the EPA’s threshold, the City will perform free remediation of the soil.
  • Properties that meet these criteria are eligible for an assessment of the exterior for lead-based paint. If lead is found, a free paint stabilization will be done.

The City of Omaha has set up an easy-to-use website where Omaha residents can check to see if their property was tested for lead and remediated.  Results from soil tests can also be found at the website:

For more information about lead in Omaha and links to other programs available for residents to help keep their family safe from lead, go to or 402-731-3045.

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Coming Events

Magic Johnson returning to Omaha Sept. 30th for 10th Annual African-American Leadership Conference

Published:  Friday, September 2, 2022

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, five time NBA champion and one of the world’s leading business executives, entrepreneurs and philanthropists is returning to Omaha to keynote the Empowerment Network’s 10th Annual African-American Leadership Conference on Friday, September 30, 2022.

Tickets are now available at

“This is incredibly exciting for us,” said Willie Barney, CEO and founder of the Empowerment Network.  “Magic’s visit in May was absolutely amazing.  Many in attendance said it was one of the best speeches they’ve ever heard and I agree 100%,” said Barney.

“His message was extremely relevant and resonates will all ages…career advancement, leadership, teamwork, generational wealth, investing in our youth and community-building.”

“He has also proven that businesses can be highly successful in urban communities and he has demonstrated leadership in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Johnson has been a champion at every level.  He is best known for his legendary performance on the basketball court.  He and the Lakers transformed the NBA in the 80’s with a new style of basketball.  The showtime Lakers dominated with one of the greatest lineups of all time.

Beyond the basketball court, Magic is still making headlines.  As he puts it, Earvin is building a legacy through developing urban communities, business and sports team ownership and investments in advanced technology.

“After thinking and praying about who should be our speaker in September, ‘Run it Back’ was in my spirit.  Bring Magic back to build on the themes from May and deliver a new message to help accelerate our progress over the next 10 years,” said Barney.  “Our board president, Timothy Christian, reached out to Magic and his response was overwhelmingly positive as he loved his experience in Omaha.”

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Mr. Earvin “Magic” Johnson back in Omaha for the 10th Annual African-American Leadership Conference,” said Christian.  “Mr. Johnson embodies everything we stand for at the Empowerment Network.  He is a proven leader on and off the court and he cares deeply about helping African-Americans and the underserved across the country. We’re looking forward to the wisdom he will share during the conference.”

“In addition to the seasoned and emerging leaders from all sectors, we also want more of our high school and college students to hear the message and we will have specific sessions for them as well,” said Barney.

The African-American Leadership Conferences promises to be even bigger and better.  In addition to Magic Johnson, the Network will feature four national keynote speakers, dozens of local leaders and experts.

National strategist and partners, Dr. Will Moreland – Using Your Gifts for Career Advancement and Creating Multiple Streams of Income; Suzan Hart – Rewriting Your Story to Live with Purpose; Dr. George Fraser – Building Strong Businesses to Create Jobs and Thriving Communities; and, Dr. Pamela Jolly – Using the Wealth Checklist to Build Legacy Wealth.  They along with others will present from the main stage and host breakout sessions.


Local speakers will include: Veta Jeffrey, CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce; Jay Warren-Teamer, Director of Diversity and Inclusion – Blue Cross Blue Shield; Aaron Austin, Chief Human Resources Officer – CHI Health Center; Dr. Cheryl Logan, Superintendent of Omaha Public Schools; Raquel Henderson, Pathway Coordinator – Metropolitan Community College and dozens of others.

Plus, representatives from 10 regional and national cities looking to replicate the Empowerment Network collective approach will be in attendance.

The conference will also feature a full scale Revive Black Business Expo including dozens of Omaha’s Black business owners, innovators and entrepreneurs.

“As one of the original members of the Empowerment Network and a person committed to the success of our community, it has been amazing to see the progress we have made,” said John Ewing, Vice President of the Board.  “I’m excited for the future of our great city and future collaborations with leaders like Earvin “Magic” Johnson that will help us continue this great transformation.”

Current major sponsors include:

CHI Health
ConAgra Brands

Union Pacific
American National Bank

Children’s Hospital
Wells Fargo
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Get your tickets locked in today:

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Aug. 27th…Revive Black Business Summit…Maximizing Technology

We’re building capacity and momentum.  How can you maximize technology to grow your business?

Please use these links to learn more and register.

Learn More Here

Register Here

The next Revive Black Business Summit will be held Saturday, August 27th from 8:00 am to 10:30 am. It will be in-person and virtual.

We’ve had a great response with the first three summits with over 125 Black businesses, entrepreneurs and support organizations participating.  Let’s keep building together!

The location for the in-person event will be the Revive Center.  Breakfast and Networking will start at 8:00 am.

Please use these links to learn more and register.

Learn More Here

Register Here

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