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Sep 23, 2019

Celebrating and Accelerating Minority and Women Entrepreneurs

Sponsored Content provided by Heather McWhorter - Interim Director, UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

What a great season! Cooler temperatures, football tailgates, and celebrations recognizing the successes of our minority- and women-owned businesses. Black Entrepreneurship Week was in September – and right around the corner are Minority Enterprise Development Week and Women Entrepreneurship Week.

We’re celebrating MED Week in the Cape Fear Region with multiple events including the Small Business Coalition Roundtable Breakfast at Cape Fear Community College on October 2 and culminating with the MED Week Conference and Luncheon on Friday, October 4, at the UNCW Burney Center.

Wondering what it’s all about? Here’s the scoop. Every year, the national Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce, sets aside a week to recognize the achievements and contributions of the minority business enterprise community. The MDBA was established in 1969. MED Week launched in 1983 and has been designated by Presidential Proclamation every year since then to recognize Hispanic and Latino, Asian Pacific American, African American, and Native American entrepreneurs. The goal of MBDA is to promote the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses by providing access to capital, access to contracts and access to market opportunities – both domestic and global.

What about WEW? Women Entrepreneurship Week hasn’t been around as long; the sixth annual WEW will be celebrated around the world and across the U.S. October 19-26. It’s a collaborative movement across over 160 universities and represents women entrepreneurs in as many as 46 states and 32 countries. This year, UNCW joins ECU, Elon, NC State, and UNC Chapel Hill in hosting events in North Carolina.

The third annual Black Entrepreneurship Week (BEW) was celebrated September 16-20. It brought together more than 1,000 people in Downtown Raleigh to focus on the future of small business leadership in the black community and featured five days of inspiring speakers and engaging workshops. BEW recognizes the power of different perspectives in economic development and capitalizes on the strengths diversity brings to the business community.

BEW grew out of a partnership between Carolina Small Business Development Fund and Shaw University, a historically black institution, to create the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center in Downtown Raleigh.

The grand finale is Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) November 18-24. GEW brings together 10 million people, includes 35,000 events, and engages 170+ countries in removing barriers and welcoming all to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Launched in 2008 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, GEW takes place each November, and features thousands of events and competitions around the world to inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity and connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. Each year, GEW selects key global themes that shine a spotlight on leading topics in entrepreneurship. The four themes for 2019 – education, ecosystems, inclusion and policy.

GEW strives to reach new audiences and connect participants to a global inclusive network that can help them take the next step, no matter where they are on their entrepreneurial journey.

Don’t let the season slip by. Join us in celebrating MED Week, WEW, and GEW this fall.

For more information, contact uncw.edu/cie.
 
Diane Durance, MPA, is director of UNC Wilmington's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The CIE is a resource for the start-up and early-stage business community to help diversify the local economy with innovative solutions. For more information, visit www.uncw.edu/cie.  

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