Author Maggie Anderson documented her family’s decision to support only Black-owned businesses for a year in “Our Black Year.” On Oct. 15, Anderson will share her experience and the journey that followed at the 2nd annual Women of Color Business Collaborative (WOCBC) Conference at A.T. Still University in Mesa.
Anderson and her family made history and dominated headlines with their choice to live exclusively off businesses, professionals, and products from the Black community for an entire year. This pioneering case study in self-help economics was called The Empowerment Experiment and led to a landmark study conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. Anderson’s stand proved how incremental support of Black businesses and professionals can rescue the community and improve the American economy as a whole. Anderson will share her story during the luncheon keynote address at the WOCBC Conference.
The WOCBC creates and fosters strong cooperative business relationships among women of color in Arizona. This is achieved by providing professional development, peer networking and business opportunities to current and future entrepreneurs. The vision of the annual WOCBC Conference is to help women of color throughout Arizona collaborate to take their businesses to new levels of success.
“What makes our conference unique is that it is specifically designed for women of color,” said Kerwin Brown, President and CEO of the Black Chamber of Arizona. “While women-owned businesses are growing at an extraordinary rate, there are still obstacles and challenges that this segment of business leaders face.”
In the United States, there are 9.4 million businesses owned by women with 3.1 million of those businesses owned by women of color. Those businesses generate $228 million each year. While Arizona’s numbers mirror national statistics, there is a disparity in opportunities for women of color.
“During the conference, participants not only have the chance to find resources and garner information, but they have the chance to build meaningful relationships with like-minded women,” said Brown. “It is more than a network, it is a sisterhood.”
Participants will select a conference track when they register. Track A is for women who are considering starting a business or have been in business less than five years. Track B is for women who have business for five or more years. The presentations are tailored for the specific tracks.
Workshops will provide information on establishing a strong business foundation, social media marketing, personal branding, how to master negotiations, communication trends for businesses, wellness for entrepreneurs and more.
Registration for the Conference is $100 for BCAZ members, $150 for general participants and $50 for students. To register, or for more information, visit www.blackchamberaz.com.