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Conference time.

Behind every successful business venture is a risk-taking entrepreneur. Many of those forward-thinking business owners will be in Atlanta next month when BLACK ENTERPRISE holds its "National Enterpreneurial Conference" at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. The extended two-day conference, which will be held May 8-9, aims to fulfill a recession-fueled demand that entrepreneurs have for more information on starting, managing and maintaining a business.

Betina Smith, CEO of Tina's Typing Word Processing Service in Moreno Valley, Calif., attended last year's conference and plans to attend again this year. The reason? Smith watched revenues for her part-time business drop 20% in the last year. "The only way out is to learn from my mistakes and learn how I can acquire business despite the poor economic climate," says the 40-year-old Smith. "There is always business out there. We just need to learn how to find it."

It won't be easy. According to Dun & Bradstreet Corp., a New York City-based business information service, in the first six months of 1991, 43,033 businesses failed, up from 28,669 in 1990. Today, black business owners definitely need an edge to stay on top--and in business.

BE's conference is designed to give entrepreneurs that edge. For example, the conference will have two "tracks." Track I will offer workshops for individuals looking to start a business. Seminar topics include securing credit, writing effective business plans and managing company finances. For the more experienced entrepreneur, Track II offers workshops on tax strategies, effective methods of expansion and acquiring capital.

Louis G. Hutt Jr., managing partner of Bennett, Hutt & Co., a Columbia, Md., accounting firm, believes that cash-flow problems are one of the toughest challenges faced by black-owned businesses. "Financial management mistakes can devastate a business," says Hut.. "The majority of black entrepreneurs are first-generation business owners. Without the guidance of [predecessors], we have to turn to our own support bases."

Workshop "Positioning Your Business To Complete For '96 Olympic Contracts" will offer strategies on how black entrepreneurs can land lucrative contracts before and during the Games. The session is scheduled to be conducted by Gary Walker, director of equal economic opportunities for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

BE also plans to hold a "powwow" networking reception with several BE 100s CEOs. Al Stoddard, director of VAR marketing for Lotus Development Corp. In Cambridge, Mass, says that such seminars and networking functions are vital to the success of black businesses. Says he: "African-Americans need to be exposed to the latest technology, management skills and networking opportunities to open the doors to new ways of doing business."

For more information on the conference, call 800-543-6786; in New York state, call 212-242-8000.
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Title Annotation:National Entrepreneurial Conference
Author:Reynolds, Rhonda
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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