2007 A.G. Gaston Conference Features Millionaire Michael V. Roberts and Speaker Willie Jolley

The A.G. Gaston Conference returns February 20-21 2007, with dynamic speakers delivering words of encouragement for 21st Century Black entrepreneurs, and new information about the State of Black Business in Birmingham, AL
By: Vickii Howell / Avant Media Communications
Jan. 22, 2007 - PRLog -- BIRMINGHAM, AL (January 22, 2007) – Building on the foundation laid in previous years, the third annual A.G. Gaston Conference in Birmingham will offer more practical advice and encouragement for black business owners as African-Americans rise to the Civil Rights challenge of the 21st Century: economic empowerment.

This year’s conference offers attendees sound business advice from a man who’s made it in America while being Black: business mogul Michael V. Roberts. His vast holdings in real estate, television, radio, and wireless communications – among other enterprises estimated at $900 million – started with a $7,000 loan from his father. Chairman and CEO of The Roberts Companies, Roberts has added author to his string of business accomplishments with his book, "Action Has No Season: Secrets and Strategies to Gaining Wealth and Authority."

Roberts will lead the conference’s plenary workshop, “Eliminating The Fear Of Failure.” He will talk about what potential entrepreneurs can do to minimize the risks of business start-up and create a better opportunity for success.

The conference also features Keynote Luncheon Speaker Willie Jolley. Named “One of the Outstanding Five Speakers in the World” by Toastmasters International, the dynamic Jolley specializes in exciting but practical talks that center on “Accelerating Success and Growing Businesses by Growing People, Performance and Profits.” Jolley’s best-selling books also center on those themes, including It Only Takes A Minute To Change Your Life! and A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback.

Also unveiled during the conference will be the third annual report on “The State of Black Business in Birmingham,” which asks the question, “What would Birmingham’s economy look like if Black-owned businesses increased five fold?” Recent figures estimate Black business revenue is less than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the total revenue generated in the Birmingham area.

Bob Dickerson, Executive Director of the Birmingham Business Resource Center, who co-founded the conference with Gaynelle Adams Jackson of Advanced Planning Services, says the report finally gives him some hard data on this question, which has intrigued him for years.

“Increasing black business revenue to say just 2.5% is something that should be doable, if the entire community would resolve to do so”, Dickerson said. “It might not seem like a lot, but a five-fold increase should result in a sizeable economic boost to the Black community and the local economy as a whole.”

The conference begins Tuesday, Feb. 20, with the workshop, “Wealth Building Strategies for Business Owners and Professionals,” sponsored by Merrill Lynch. The day also features two sessions that teach Black business owners how they are affected by decisions in Congress: the first with Anthony Robinson, President of the Minority Business Enterprise Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MBELDEF), and the with Janice Mathis, Atlanta Satellite Chief and Vice President of The Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

The day closes with the Annual Awards Ceremony and reception at the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church to celebrate the accomplishments of Birmingham-based Black entrepreneurs and civic leaders.

Roberts and Jolley are the key featured speakers on the second day, Feb. 21, during a half day of activities at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. Both will sign their books immediately after the luncheon.

In response to last year’s call to action, the A.G. Gaston Conference and several African American church leaders will announce the formation of a new coalition of churches. The churches will leverage their collective resources to support and develop economic redevelopment projects in their communities.

The conference, established in 2005, celebrates the life and achievements of Dr. A.G. Gaston (1892-1996), one of the richest black men in America and dubbed “Entrepreneur of the Century” by Black Enterprise magazine. His phenomenal accomplishments came despite abject and overt racial discrimination in Birmingham, Alabama.

Visit the website at www.aggastonexpo.com to register online and get more detailed information on the conference schedule and on speakers/presenters. Tickets for the two-day conference can be purchased for $50 online by the Feb. 1 early-bird registration deadline. Otherwise, tickets are $50 per day.

For more information, contact the Birmingham Business Resource Center at (205) 250-6380, or e-mail INFO@bbrc.biz.

To schedule press interviews, contact Vickii Howell by e-mail at Vickii@AvantMediaCom.com.
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Tags:African American, Black History Month, Economic Empowerment, Business, Birmingham, Michael V Roberts, Willie Jolley
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