Cape Fear Region MED Week Celebrates Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Cape Fear Region Minority Enterprise Development Week is returning to UNCW for its fifth year Oct. 2-4. The three-day conference illustrates the commitment of the university and its community partners to equal opportunity and economic inclusion by focusing on the growth and achievement of local minority- and women-owned businesses.

MED Week recognizes the impact of these businesses and provides opportunities for networking, contact with purchasing agents and business development workshops. New opportunities this year include additional events hosted by Cape Fear Community College and tekMountain.

Keynote speaker J. R. Gorham, the first African American brigadier general in the North Carolina National Guard, will give insights on “Getting Unstuck, Reaching the Next Level.” Gorham is the author of the book Sharecropper’s Wisdom: Growing Today's Leaders the Old Fashioned Way.

On Oct. 2, the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and The Coalition, a group of organizations with the goal of helping small business owners and entrepreneurs, will host the Small Business Coalition Roundtable Breakfast at Cape Fear Community College’s Union Station. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with local resources and businesses leaders. Local minority entrepreneurs will have further opportunity to network with other small business owners and Cape Fear MED Week sponsors on Oct. 3 at a reception hosted at tekMountain.

Expanding the conference into the community “allows us to recognize the economic impact from the depth and variety of minority businesses in throughout our region,” said Dr. Kent Guion, UNCW’s chief diversity officer. “It gives us a common rallying point to continue progress together and allows for broader collaborative opportunities.”

On Oct. 4, the conference will take place at UNCW’s Burney Center, starting with a networking breakfast and opening remarks at 8 a.m. A “fireside chat” and panel discussion will feature five experienced local panelists who will discuss capital acquisition. The afternoon will consist of breakout educational sessions, a luncheon and the keynote speech. Throughout the day, local entrepreneurs will be honored in spotlight recognition ceremonies.

Rachel Bodkin-Fox ’16M, CEO of The Foxes Boxes and executive director of The Foxes Boxes Externship Academy; Calvin Stevens, director of business development and diversity, Balfour Beatty Construction; and Frankie Roberts, co-founder and executive director of LINC, Inc. will be recognized for demonstrating excellence in business standards and ethics, while possessing the ability to bridge strategic partnerships.

Cape Fear Region MED Week events are free, but registration is required. Register by Sept. 29 at The conference is a part of the national observance of Minority Enterprise Development Week, created by presidential proclamation in 1983.

-- Victoria Gonzalez ’19