July 27th, 2019, marks the first-ever Entrepreneur Expo. This was an event held in Greensboro, NC, geared towards black millennial professionals to learn more about how to start up, operate, and profit from their future business endeavors. The host, Hello Corporate World (HCW), is a business and platform that invests in local businesses founded by young African Americans. The goal was to create a space for young entrepreneurs to network and gain new business insights from other like-minded individuals in the NC community.
The Entrepreneur Expo was an event free of charge as potential attendees were instructed to RSVP with a ticket at no cost online. There was also no dress code as everyone was encouraged to “come as you are” and “do you” when it comes to attire. The time frame was excellent: 11 am - 3 pm (not too long, not too short). The venue was really nice and accommodating as well: Studio 503, located on the outskirts of Downtown Greensboro.
The lead operators of HCW, Gabrielle Head (CEO and founder) and Carryngton Walton (Events Manager), contacted me originally to be a panelist and after talking with them for a while, I had the honor and pleasure of becoming the photographer of the event. As the photographer, I was able to truly observe and soak in all the details as the event unfolded. What made this event so special to me was that the atmosphere was full of energy from the time I walked in the door to the moment I left.
As soon as the doors were open, people began shaking hands, handing out their business cards, holding deep conversations, and purchasing products and apparel. That came as a surprise to me. I’ve been to many networking events in the past and there’s always that first thirty minutes to an hour of people walking around barely speaking to one another, just trying to get a feel of the room and the attendees. This was not the case with the Entrepreneur Expo; people began connecting right away.
Major highlights of this event included the mix & mingle, Q&A panel discussion with guest speakers, and the award ceremony as a send-off. Our live hosts for the event were Carryngton and Trizzy Dollaz (Host Personality). They help everything move smoothly and keep the audience entertained while DJ ROXCI (Greensboro’s Hottest DJ) graced us with some excellent tracks to help set the mood throughout the course of the event.
Numerous vendors and business owners came out to network and support one another. Some vendors in attendance were Slaytoven, a hairstylist and “Hair Slayer Extraordinaire” and Rekloosiv, a lifestyle apparel brand, both based in Greensboro, NC. Another business in attendance was Greater Inc., a platform that promotes Entrepreneurs and Influencers. We also had a great group of guest speakers to share their knowledge and experiences as young entrepreneurs.
Here’s a list of the Speakers you missed at the event:
Ky’s Kandles (Custom Handmade Candles)
Kayla Jay (On Air Personality & Positive Lifestyle Connoisseur)
Chef Dave (Neighborhood Chef Dealer and Co-founder of Rekloosiv Apparel)
Chris Bell (Entrepreneur & Musician)
We had wonderful catering provided by Chef Dave with his delicious offerings of mac & cheese, green beans, and Chicken Stir Fry (I most definitely took two whole plates home.) Accompanying me to capture the events was my good friend Handy (@Neverbeenhollywood), who I plugged in as the videographer for the event. He did an incredible job of recording everything that took place with a storytelling/film style of videography that will blow you away.
We also got a chance to listen to some of our senior business owners to give us guidance and wisdom as we move forward in our careers. One was Greg Walton, Carryngton’s father, who specializes in dental technology, meaning he designs and makes teeth for his patients. He gave us some great insights into the importance of finance and innovation in business. There was also another gentleman who was a minister that told us about the importance of connecting with one another, learning from the generation before us, and maintaining our spirituality.
As young entrepreneurs, we all want to start our ventures, companies, and brands as a response to the problems we see in our communities. In order to begin our journey, it takes massive amounts of dedication and perseverance. The Entrepreneur Expo created an opportunity to embrace others in their struggles and provide the tools and knowledge necessary to survive and, ultimately, thrive as young entrepreneurs.
HCW went so far as to provide a giveaway at the end of the event with gifts and awards for people to fund their businesses. They even offered a $500 business grant to those who applied before they attended the event. The winner of the grant was Danae (CEO of @aspiring_co) for the effort she put into her incredible business plan. This is proof that HCW is truly here to invest in the new generation of Black Entrepreneurs.
Overall, it was an amazing moment to witness. I really enjoyed it! What was even more intriguing to me was how genuine and welcoming everyone was to each other. The conversations with the people I met were so uplifting and heartwarming. I couldn’t believe that this was a simple networking event. It surely wasn’t. It was something more. It felt like a precursor to something more impactful and powerful, as if it was a sign of hope and enlightenment for everyone who attended. By the end of the event, I can certainly say this was the case once I saw everyone join hands in solidarity with one another.
There were so many wonderful individuals who attended with the common goal of building a community. The knowledge that was shared, the connections that were made, and the genuine desire that everyone had to support one another is something that made this event so unique and special. I want to give a huge thanks to Gabrielle and Carryngton for making all of this happen and for inviting me to be a part of the experience. This is only the beginning.
Make sure to follow @HCW.__ on Instagram to stay updated on when their next event will be held.
Also, be sure to follow all of the vendors and speakers on Instagram to tap into our new community of young entrepreneurs and business owners.
If you would like to see the pictures I took for the event, click the link below!