DETROIT, Nov. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- On Thursday, November 20, The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC) will host its second annual Sankofa Black Business Awards Gala. Held at the MGM Grand Detroit from 6:00–9:00 p.m., the event is designed to recognize the achievements of some of the area's most noted African-American entrepreneurs and executives. More than 600 prominent members of the local business community are expected to attend the sold-out gala.
"Since we launched the MBCC nearly four years ago, the chamber has seen exponential growth," said Ken Harris, president and CEO of the MBCC. "That growth spurred the addition of the inaugural Sankofa Awards last year. Derived from the Akan language of Ghana, Sankofa teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward - the awards are a manifestation of that idea, a celebration of the achievements of our robust and ever-growing African-American business community."
The Sankofa Awards Gala, now in its second year, will honor 12 entrepreneurs, executives, and business & academic leaders who exemplify a commitment to diversity and work to further the growth of the black business community in southeastern Michigan. To build on the success of the inaugural 2013 Sankofa Awards, the chamber added 10 new award categories to this year's program in an effort to honor the contributions of a wider cross-section of individuals. 2014 award recipients include:
- Sankofa Lifetime Achievement Award
John W. Barfield, Sr., founder, Bartech Group, LLC
- Sankofa Corporation of the Year
Daniel J. Loepp, president & CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
- Sankofa 5 Pillars of Commerce
Dr. Forrest S. Carter, Ph.D., professor & director, Michigan State University Entrepreneurship Institute
- Sankofa Black Business of the Year
Greg Jackson, president & CEO, Prestige Automotive Group, LLC
- Sankofa Scholar of the Year
Karl Gregory, Ph.D., retiring professor emeritus & economist, Oakland University
- Sankofa Unsung Leader
Horace J. Rodgers, retired attorney, entrepreneur & economic development professional
- Sankofa Citizen of the Year
John Dingell, member, U.S. House of Representatives
- Sankofa Citizen of the Year
Mike Rodgers, member, U.S. House of Representatives
- Sankofa Advocate of the Year
Louis Green, president & CEO, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council
- Sankofa Black Supplier of the Year
Sid Taylor, founder & chairman, SET Enterprises, LLC
- Sankofa Woman of the Year
Suzanne Shank, president & CEO, Siebert, Brandford Shank & Co., LLC
- Sankofa Next Generation Award
Tatiana Grant, president & CEO, Infused PR
"This year's awards not only serve as a testament to the entrepreneurial endeavors of those we are honoring, but to the continued growth of the chamber and more importantly, a business community that is supportive of and engaged in economic and commerce-driven initiatives," said Harris.
In addition to the awards program, the gala will feature a keynote address from Dr. Randall Pinkett, co-founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners (a consulting firm) and winner of season four of the NBC hit series The Apprentice. George Fraser, founder and CEO of FraserNet, a global leadership network committed to increasing human resources opportunities for African-Americans, will also bring remarks. Mayor Mike Duggan will be on hand and will offer his greetings at the beginning of the program. The Sankofa Awards Gala will kick off promptly at 6:00 p.m. and will be followed by an afterglow at the Detroit Seafood Market scheduled from 9:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m.
Although the event is sold out, additional information about the program and the chamber itself can be found at www.michiganblackchamber.com or by contacting its president and CEO, Ken Harris, at [email protected] or (313) 971-6511.
About the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce
The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC) is Michigan's first advocacy organization for Michigan-based, black-owned businesses. The MBCC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian enterprise dedicated to the economic empowerment of African-American communities. The organization advocates for, charters, develops, supports, and empowers local black chambers throughout the state of Michigan. There are seven active local chambers in Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint, Pontiac, Grand Rapids, and Southfield. In 2015, the MBCC will launch both a Jackson Black Chamber of Commerce and an Oakland County Black Chamber of Commerce. With access to more than 79,000 black-owned businesses in Michigan, the MBCC has become one of the largest and most influential chambers of commerce in the country. For more information, visit http://www.michiganblackchamber.com/.
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SOURCE The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC)