Nation's Largest Black-Owned Businesses Honored At Entrepreneurs Conference In Columbus, OH, May 15-18

BE 100s Companies of the Year to be Celebrated at Awards Gala at 2013 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo

May 06, 2013, 12:00 ET from Black Enterprise

NEW YORK, May 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BLACK ENTERPRISE will hold its 2013 Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted by Nationwide Insurance on Wednesday, May 15 through Saturday, May 18 at the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. An annual highlight of the conference is recognition of the Black Enterprise 100s: The Nation's Largest Black-Owned Companies, and the BE 100s Companies of the Year. The CEOs of the 2013 Industrial Service Company, Auto Dealership, Financial Company and Advertising Agency of the Year will be honored at the BE 100s Dinner and Awards Gala, to be hosted by The Ohio State University and Limited Brands on Friday, May 17, at the convention center.

"Each year since 1973, we've identified and ranked our BE 100s, America's largest black-owned companies, in the June issue of Black Enterprise magazine," said Earl "Butch" Graves Jr., President and CEO of Black Enterprise.  "The CEOs of our Companies of the Year are among our nation's most outstanding entrepreneurs. They set a standard of achievement to which all of our Entrepreneurs Conference attendees aspire."  

"Nationwide Insurance is proud of our partnership with Black Enterprise and the opportunity to serve as the host sponsor of the 2013 Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Conference + Expo," said Nationwide Chief Administrative Officer Gale V. King.  "We understand that being in business for yourself takes dedication, commitment and hard work. The coveted BE 100s represents the best of the best and sets the bar for excellence and innovation. We congratulate all who are being recognized this year."

The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo, which annually brings together more than 1,200 of the country's leading entrepreneurs and corporate executives, is designed to provide attendees with the newest and most innovative strategies from today's top business minds and provide high-powered networking opportunities critical to their efforts to take their businesses to the next level, from successful launch to growth and profitability. This year's BEEC theme: Accelerate Your Business.

The BE 100s Companies of the Year are selected by the Black Enterprise Editorial Board based on eligible financial performance in 2012, as well as significant achievement, resilience in the face of economic and market challenges, management innovation and industry leadership. The 2013 BE 100s Companies of the Year:

Industrial/Service Company of the Year: Hightowers Petroleum, Middletown, OH; CEO, Stephen L. Hightower. Business: Petroleum Products Distribution

Auto Dealer of the Year: March Hodge Automotive Group, Tampa, FL; CEOs, Anthony March, Ernest Hodge. Business: Retail sales for automakers including Mazda, Toyota, Honda, Jaguar, Volvo, Volkswagen, Nissan, Infinity, Land Rover.

Financial Services Company of the Year: Vista Equity Partners, San Francisco, CA; CEO, Robert F. Smith. Business: Private Equity (focus on technology)

Advertising Agency of the Year: Walton Isaacson, Los Angeles, CA; CEOs, Aaron Walton/Cory Isaacson

Other confirmed speakers for the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference include:

  • Robert L. Johnson, Founder & Chairman, The RLJ Companies
  • Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Founder & CEO, Magic Johnson Enterprises
  • Robert Townsend, Actor, Director & Filmmaker
  • Dr. Dennis Kimbro, Educator & Author of The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires
  • Frans Johansson, Founder & CEO, The Medici Group and bestselling author of The Medici Effect and The Click Moment.
  • Tim Reese, Co-Founder, National Minority Angel Network and Managing Partner, Forge Intellectual Capital
  • Jeff Clanagan, CEO, Code Black Entertainment 
  • Melinda "Small Biz Lady" Emerson, CEO,
  • Amos Winbush, Founder & CEO, CyberSynchs LLC
  • Scott Gerber, Founder, Young Entrepreneurs Council and Co-Founder, Gen Y Capital Partners
  • Hajj Flemings, Founder & CEO, Brand Camp University
  • Lauren Maillian Bias, Founding Partner, Gen Y Capital Partners and CEO, Luxury Marketing Branding
  • Wayne Sutton, Founder & CEO, PitchTo Inc.

The 2013 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference hosted by Nationwide Insurance boasts high-powered sessions on critical business topics such as International Business, Finding Angel Investors, Social Media Marketing, The Art of Creative Partnerships, Corporate Procurement, Business Coaching, Protecting Your Idea/Invention, Franchising, Selling Online, Generating Cash for your Tech Start-up, Using Search Engine Optimization to Sell Your Goods and How to do Business with the Government.

For the aspiring entrepreneur, The Small Business Success™ Bootcamp offers a step-by-step approach to kick-starting a new enterprise. Plus, the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition will award $10,000 for the best new business idea and the Teenpreneur program will teach business fundamentals to youths, ages 13-17.

For updates, follow BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Conference page on Facebook and search the #BEEC hash tag on Twitter

The 2013 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted by Nationwide is presented by American Express, DELL, PepsiCo and Walmart. Platinum sponsors include FedEx Express and Wendy's International. Corporate Sponsors include The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and PR Newswire. is the leading website for Money, Small Business and Career development. Providing executive and entrepreneurial resources, information, and profiles on the topics of money management, employment, career and start-up development, features expert resource articles, original video packages, and blogs, customized to empower its niche audience while consistently providing universal resource-value.

black enterprise, your ultimate source to build Wealth for Life, is the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans. Since 1970, be has provided essential business information and advice to professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and decision makers. Every month, black enterprise magazine provides 4 million readers with information on entrepreneurship, careers, and financial management. A multimedia company, be also produces television programming, business and lifestyle events, Web content, and digital media. Visit for more information.

About Nationwide
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit

Nationwide, the Nationwide frame mark, and On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

SOURCE Black Enterprise