Last month, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) brought together 300+ Chamber leaders and Black business owners from across the country to Washington DC for their first in-person conference in over three years. The 2022 USBC National Conference “Learning, Connecting & Leading” was powered by Google, and held at the Marriott Marquis.
The three-day conference had over 300 attendees, 30 speakers, and 17 mainstage sessions which included armchair conversations with U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, Big3 League Founder O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson Sr., a live performance by Doug E. Fresh, a monumental MOU signing with the International Trade Association and $300,000 in grants presented just to highlight a few of the key moments from this year’s USBC National Conference.
Congressman Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) welcomed guests to the conference with his remarks, while USBC President & CEO Ron Busby Sr. began the conference with his President’s Address, followed by John Templeton presenting the State of the Black Economy and Advancing Black Entrepreneurs with Chris Wheat (JPMorgan Chase & Co.), Kimberly Evans (Chase) and Kanayo Oweazim (JPMorgan Chase & Co).
Thursday’s USBC Awards Luncheon was full of recognition, presenting Advocate of the Year to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Chamber of the Year to The Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce (TAAACC). Chanelle Hardy, Head of Civil Rights from Google presented over $200,000 to Black chamber leaders with their Grow with Google Partner Awards. SBA Assistant Administrator, Natalie Cofield provided remarks on behalf of the SBA, recognizing USBC’s Community Navigator Spokes and dynamic keynote speaker, Dr. Will Moreland directed “We Get Real”.
In addition to bringing Chamber leaders together and highlighting USBC’s key programs, it was also a time to make big announcements. USBC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Trade Administration (ITA). Their goal is to promote international trade for Black-owned businesses through private-public partnerships. In attendance were Arun Venkataraman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets, Kenneth Haynes, Deputy Director of GDEI, and Terri Batch, Director of GDEI for U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service who are partnering with USBC on implementing this program.
Day one-panel discussions included Federal Contracting Made Easy with Antwanye Ford, Krystal Brumfield (GSA), and Mark Madrid (SBA) and Doing Business with Morocco with Elhajjam Mohamad of the Moroccan American Network and Phillip Dunn (USBC). After an action-packed day of sessions, guests celebrated Black Excellence and enjoyed the ByBlack Speakeasy at The Dignitary.
Friday, kicked off Advocacy Day with an Armchair Conversation with U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, moderated by USBC President Ron Busby Sr. The USBC Advocacy Luncheon featured remarks by U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin, U.S. Representatives Troy Carter (D-LA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Donald Payne (D-NJ), as well as various panel discussions including USBC Advocacy Roundtable with Antonio Doss (SBA), Patrice Hall (U.S. Census Bureau), Adjoa Asamoah (HUD), and Olivia Nutter (Prism Group), the Global Black Gaming Market with Fred Keeton, Justin Carter (Penn National Gaming) and Alex Dixon (Q Casinos) and Federal Government Spend with Shelby Scales (DOT), Talisha Bekavac (USBC) and Nigel Stephens (Phoenix Strategies). Bob Marshall from Wells Fargo presented over $100,000 to Black chamber leaders with their Wells Fargo Grant Awards.
Lloyd Ward gave a powerful keynote on reclaiming the African Diaspora and doing business in Africa. The day included a visit to the Capitol Building, where Chamber leaders had a chance to speak with U.S. Representatives Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), Steven Horsford (D-NV), and Nikema Williams (D-GA).
The USBC All Black Affair culminated the evening with a live performance by the world’s greatest entertainer and human beatbox Doug E. Fresh.
Saturday concluded this year’s conference with an engaging Armchair Conversation with O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson Sr. who discussed his Big3 League and his Contract with Black America. Chamber leaders participated in the All Chambers meeting and heard from both Dr. LaNail Plummer on the importance of Mental Health for business owners and Tarek Delavallade (Deuce & Deuce Promo) on Black Sports League Ownership.
The conference wouldn’t have been possible without this year’s partners Google, Chase for Business, Wells Fargo, Uber, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information and event images visit https://www.usbcconference.com/
About the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
The U.S. Black Chambers (USBC) is the voice of Black business owners and a top advocate for resources and policies that impact Black business owners. To learn more visit: www.usblackchambers.org