The North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame will host its annual gala and celebration of this year’s inductees, including a Wilmington business owner, on Thursday at Wilmington’s Embassy Suites Riverfront.
Nine women from across the state will be honored at the event, but one inductee is local to Wilmington. Amy Wright, founder and CEO of Bitty and Beau’s Coffee, will be honored at the event for her “human rights movement disguised as a coffee shop.”
Bitty and Beau’s Coffee originated in Wilmington and now has 23 locations across 12 states. The coffee chain’s mission is to empower those with disabilities through employment in its stores.
“She is an inspiring example of women who are challenged and have to figure out how to use entrepreneurship to solve that challenge,” said Wendy Coulter, founder of the NC Women Business Owners Hall of Fame. “She's got a very pioneering approach.”
This is the first time the non-profit has ventured outside Charlotte or the greater Raleigh area to host the event, Coulter said.
The decision to hold this year’s event in Wilmington was unanimous among the organization’s board, Coulter said. Many of this year’s inductees are from the coastal region of the state, and the organization noted that there is a vibrant business environment in the city.
“There's a fabulous women's business ecosystem in Wilmington and a fabulous business ecosystem in Wilmington,” she said.
Coulter started the NC Women Business Owners Hall of Fame in 2018 while serving as president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). She owns her own business in Cary, Hummingbird Creative Group.
“It came out of a desire to make sure that we are documenting and telling the stories of amazing women who have impacted the economic development of the state of North Carolina,” Coulter said.
The women honored through the program each year are either business owners or advocates for women in business. This year, there are seven business owners and two advocates being honored.
The online nomination form for inductees opens in January, Coulter said. The criteria for nominations include a connection to North Carolina and contributions to the entrepreneurial community for women and economic development.
The non-profit is also hosting a leadership event and panel at Cape Fear Community College on Wednesday in partnership with Cape Fear’s Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week and a group trip to see Tapestry: Tribute to Carole King at Wilmington’s Historic Thalian Hall on Friday.