Black Enterprise summit returns to Charlotte in 2019

Britt Clampitt

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 13, 2019) — BLACK ENTERPRISE will return to Charlotte with FW​D, the revamped, rebranded summit for entrepreneurs hosted by Nationwide June 19-22 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

In its 24th year, the four-day conference will bring together more than 1,200 of the nation's leading entrepreneurs, innovators, creators and founders of color with a special focus on tech-driven innovation and separate tracks for established firms and startups. "FWD: Business on Your Own Terms" will provide the array of diverse entrepreneurs in attendance with networking, partnership, financing and other business-building opportunities.

Over the course of 23 years, the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit has earned its reputation as the premier conference for black business owners, and FWD builds on that foundation, which is tailored to the needs of creators, innovators, hustlers and next-generation entrepreneurs. FWD recognizes the need for founders at all stages of business development to connect, learn, gain inspiration and, most importantly, receive access to the necessary tools and resources for success.

BLACK ENTERPRISE President and CEO Earl "Butch" Graves Jr. will officially announce the rebranding and the return to Charlotte at a press conference scheduled for Monday, Feb. 18, at 11 a.m. in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Chamber, 600 E. 4th St. The Charlotte business community is critical to job creation and innovation, which is why FWD seeks to drive the growth of black entrepreneurship and economic development in Charlotte and nationwide.

"After 23 amazing years of hosting the Entrepreneurs Summit, we are very excited for the relaunch of one of our signature B.E. events, and there is no better city to do this than Charlotte," Graves Jr. said. "FWD is designed to show millennials and seasoned business leaders innovative strategies, networking opportunities with like-minded attendees, and show them how to think tactically to reach the next level of profitability."

What's different about FWD?

  • Tracks for startups and established business owners.
  • Leave each session with a FWD plan — your next steps and to-dos to get your business on track now.
  • Attendee-driven content. Short, pre-event polls and live Q&As will allow speakers to structure the conversation to provide the information you came for. 
  • An a la carte experience. Enjoy flexible programming, opportunities to network, downtime or time to put in work.
  • Greater tech integration. Simply put, if you're doing business without technology, you're doing it wrong.
  • Huddle in the Hub. The BizHub will be the center of everything. Sessions, networking pods, workshops, coaching, sponsor activations, small businesses making coin — it all happens here.
  • Make yourself comfortable. Show up as your best self in whatever makes you feel most like the boss you are.

"Nationwide is proud to continue our sponsorship of the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, now being rebranded as FWD, and our commitment to supporting minority businesses and diverse communities," said Lu Yarbrough III, associate vice president of diverse and cause marketing at Nationwide. "Whether you're thinking about starting a business, looking for ways to build on it, or wanting to meet other entrepreneurs, this conference has something that will benefit all who attend."

"We are very fortunate to be hosting FWD in Charlotte in 2019. The new name reflects the direction the city would like to move African-American entrepreneurs," said Charlotte City Council Member James "Smuggie" Mitchell. "Forward (FWD) on building capacity, access to capital and securing opportunities. Focus With Determination."

For updates, search the #BEintheQC hashtag on Twitter.


The City of Charlotte provides services to more than 860,000 residents. The city's focus areas are Housing and Neighborhood Development, Community Safety, Transportation and Planning, Economic Development and the Environment. For the latest news about city government, visit the Citywide Newsroom. From our website, you can sign up to receive email updates on city topics that interest you through the Noti​fy Me service.

BLACK ENTERPRISE, your ultimate source to build Wealth for Life, is the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans. Since 1970, BE has provided essential business information and advice to professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and decision makers. Every month, BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine provides 6 million readers with information on entrepreneurship, careers, and financial management. A multimedia company, also produces television programming, business and lifestyle events, web content, and digital media. Visit for more information.