Charlotte entrepreneur tries to boost business connections during CIAA tournament

Antriece Mitchell wants CIAA attendees to focus on business as well as basketball when the college tournament returns to Charlotte […]

Antriece Mitchell wants CIAA attendees to focus on business as well as basketball when the college tournament returns to Charlotte on Feb. 23-27.

To that end, Mitchell is organizing her second “Breakfast Conversations” networking event with small- and minority-business owners in mind.

While Mitchell’s event is timed with the tournament, it is separate from it, and not an official CIAA event.

“It’s about everybody being able to network and benefit … whether it’s amongst your own peers, or corporations that are headquartered in Charlotte,” says Mitchell, whose company, Heirs of Legends Media, is presenting the Feb. 23 event at Extravaganza Depot north of uptown. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts is the featured speaker.

Mitchell says the format will include attendees sharing a 15-second elevator pitch and business cards at their tables. She’ll also lead a question-and-answer session with Roberts, focusing on the city’s small-business opportunities.

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Mitchell says she’s gotten feedback on lasting connections made at last year’s breakfast – including a member of a nonprofit who met a CPA, who later became that organization’s accountant.

[CIAA commissioner to Charlotte business owners: Let’s work together]

Jacqie McWilliams, commissioner of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, was last year’s featured guest. McWilliams’ discussion focused on business ties local owners could forge with the athletic conference, which moved its headquarters from Virginia to the Southpark area in Charlotte last August. The office is located at Two Piedmont Center.

According to the CIAA, the men’s and women’s basketball tournament produced an economic impact of $55.6 million in 2015, a 19 percent increase over 2014. Charlotte has hosted the tournament since 2006.

Founded in 1912, the CIAA is the first African-American athletic conference, with 12 historically black colleges and universities as its members, including Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte and Livingstone College in Salisbury.

Over the years, there’s been debate over whether the CIAA tournament has had a meaningful impact on Charlotte’s black business community.

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[Local black businesses and the CIAA pie]

“It could use a lot of improvement,” says Mitchell – who hopes her breakfast events can help local owners forge connections with the tournament.

“I can bring together the small- and minority-business owners under one roof with city leaders so we can open up the conversation about it,” she says.


Want to go?

Heirs of Legends Media presents “Breakfast Conversations 2016” on Feb. 23, 8 a.m. at Extravaganza Depot, 1610 N. Tryon St., Charlotte. Tickets range from $50-100. Buy them by Feb. 20 online at www.heirsoflegends.com. (Click the “More” tab, then “Breakfast Conversations.”