WILMINGTON — The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Facilities will host the fourth annual Cape Fear Region Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference Oct. 24 and 25.
The event is being held in conjunction with the Coalition Business Roundtable breakfast. The Coalition, sponsored by Live Oak Bank and the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, comprises 10 entrepreneurial support organizations that provide services and support to startups and small businesses.
The two-day event provides opportunities for networking and presents workshops to help grow and strengthen businesses and a panel discussion where experts will tackle issues faced by business owners impacted by Hurricane Florence. The conference begins at 2 p.m., Oct 24 with a workshop, vendor fair and reception at the Burney Center on the UNCW campus. This year’s theme is “The Art of Mastering Your Business ROR (Return on Relationship).” The deadline to register is Oct. 20. The event is free and open to the public.
Machelle Sanders, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Administration, will present the MED Week proclamation on behalf of the Governor’s Office.
Katrina M. Harrell, CEO of Sage22 Ventures LLC, will lead a workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 24 titled “Sustain Your Dream! How Developing Structures and Systems Keep Your Business in Business.” Harrell is also the co-founder of The Launch Project, an economic empowerment, business training company and entrepreneurship investment for underserved individuals in predominantly distressed communities.
Wilma Daniels, founder and CEO, Daniels Development LLC; and Aaron Thomas, president and CEO, Metcon, will be recognized for their business achievements during the Oct. 24 reception.
Daniels serves on the boards of the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, the New Hanover Community Health Center, Cape Fear Community College Foundation and UNCW Board of Trustees. She is president of the Wilmington Black Chamber of Commerce, is a graduate of Leadership Wilmington and is a member of The Order of Cape Fear.
Thomas founded Metcon, a Native American-owned construction management firm, in 1999. Under his leadership, the company has experienced steady growth and is North Carolina’s largest minority-owned construction management firm. In 2011, Metcon was named the National Minority Construction firm of the year by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.
The conference resumes on Thursday, Oct. 25 in the Burney Center, beginning with the Coalition Business Roundtable breakfast, where attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and get input in three roundtable discussions on different topics. The events continue with workshops and a message from keynote speaker Gloria Shealey, president and CEO of The Daniele Company.
Shealey is an accomplished executive with more than 25 years in building construction and project management as a general contractor and construction manager. She served as the first woman president of the National Association of Minority Contractors and was inducted into NAMC’s Hall of Fame, the organization’s highest honor of distinction. Shealey is also a founding member and former chair of the North Carolina Chapter of NAMC, United Minority Contractors of North Carolina and was named the 2018 Woman of the Year by the Greater Durham Black Chamber of Commerce.
Suprena Hickman, CEO of Suprena Hickman Enterprises, will present “Taking Care of Self While Taking Care of Business” during the Cape Fear MED Week luncheon. Hickman is an entrepreneur and registered nurse who has worked in many aspects of nursing for more than 17 years. For nearly a decade, Hickman has traveled across the country providing support to hospitals, clinics and community organizations.
Cape Fear Region MED Week recognizes the outstanding achievements of minority entrepreneurs and honors individuals and organizations that support minority business development. The conference is among the events being held nationwide as a part of the national observance of MED Week, created by presidential proclamation in 1983. For more information, visit uncw.edu/MEDweek.