Minority Business and Leadership Symposium returns for CIAA 2019 lineup

In its fourth year, the daylong conference — taking place on Feb. 28 — adds the Black Think Executive Roundtable as a new feature.

Black Enterprise President/CEO Earl 'Butch' Graves Jr. and Byna Elliott, Fifth Third Bank senior vice president and chief corporate community and economic officer, at the 2018 CIAA Minority Business and Leadership Symposium. Photo courtesy of CIAA

Why this story matters: Minority entrepreneurs are often at a disadvantage, especially when first starting out. Charlotte ranks 35th out of the 50 largest U.S. metros where minority entrepreneurs are succeeding, according to a recent LendingTree report.


Thousands are preparing for the annual pilgrimage to Charlotte for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) basketball tournament, one of the last before it heads to Baltimore in 2021.

Off the court, the CIAA is bringing together 200 business executives, entrepreneurs and emerging leaders with the return of its Minority Business and Leadership Symposium on Feb. 28.

In partnership with the National Black MBA Association, the daylong conference adds the Black Think Executive Roundtable as a new feature. The invite-only session will gather public- and private-sector leaders to focus on key areas including mentorship, capacity building and legislation.

“We want to make sure we’re engaging this community in the business sector because it’s important to Charlotte, but it’s also important to the CIAA as we help tell business owners’ stories,” said Toya Everett, president of the NBMBAA Charlotte chapter.

Attendees at the 2018 CIAA Minority Business and Leadership Symposium. Photo courtesy of CIAA

Entering its fourth year, the symposium aims for attendees to build social capital and collaborate as they address issues faced by minority- and women-owned businesses.

Breakout sessions will explore business trends, ranging from securing access to capital to effective leaderships skills. One of the conference’s featured events will be an exclusive fireside chat with CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams and NBMBAA President/CEO Jesse Tyson.

McWilliams said she’s thrilled that the symposium’s information resonates with attendees.

“Every year it grows and expands. We‘re using the platform of basketball to expand opportunities in this community for the CIAA and the Queen City,” she said.

Event details

Date: Thursday, Feb. 28

Time: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S College St.

Cost: $50 until Feb. 17, $75 beginning Feb. 18. Visit theciaa.com for details and to register.


Jonathan Limehouse is a journalist whose passion is to find good and impactful stories. He’s an avid sports fan who can be found at numerous sporting events around Charlotte.

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