2013 Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo kicks off May 15 at Convention Center

Black Enterprise’s 2013 Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo kicks off Wednesday at the Columbus Convention Center.

The three-day event, which is expected to bring more than 1,200 entrepreneurs and corporate executives to Columbus, aims to provide attendees with the newest and most innovative strategies from today’s top business minds, and offer networking opportunities that are critical to taking their businesses to the next level. This year’s theme is Accelerate Your Business.

“Each year since 1973, we’ve identified and ranked our BE 100s, America’s largest black-owned companies, in the June issue of Black Enterprise magazine,” said Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., president and CEO of Black Enterprise, in a statement. “The CEOs of our Companies of the Year are among our nation’s most outstanding entrepreneurs. They set a standard of achievement to which all of our Entrepreneurs Conference attendees aspire.”

Companies of the Year are selected by the Black Enterprise editorial board based on financial performance during the previous year, as well as significant achievement, resilience in the face of economic and market challenges, management innovation, and industry leadership.

The 2013 Companies of the Year include Hightowers Petroleum Co. in Middletown, Ohio. In 2012, a dozen Companies of the Year called the Buckeye State home.

Columbus, in particular, is “a city that breathes economic and entrepreneurial potential, not only for those who live here, but for our nation,” Graves said in a statement announcing the 2013 Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo host city.

Hightowers Petroleum CEO Stephen L. Hightower will be among the speakers at this year’s event. Others include Magic Johnson, founder & CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises; Tim Reese, co-founder of  National Minority Angel Network and managing partner at Forge Intellectual Capital; and Wayne Sutton, founder & CEO of PitchTo Inc.

Session topics include finding angel investors, social media marketing, protecting your idea/invention, generating cash for your tech startup, franchising, and how to do business with the government. Also, the Small Business Success Bootcamp offers a step-by-step approach to kickstarting a new enterprise.

Additionally, The Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition will award $10,000 for the best new business idea, and the Teenpreneur program will teach business fundamentals to youths ages 13-17.

For updates, follow the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference page on Facebook and the #BEEC hashtag on Twitter.