Black Entrepreneur Panel Announced for First Ever Savannah “Black In Business” Event


July 11, 2022 – On Wednesday, July 20, the first ever “Black in Business” event for Savannah-area black business owners and aspiring black entrepreneurs will take place. The event will include the following panel of successful local black business owners who will share their stories and answer questions about their entrepreneurial journey

  • Elbi Elm, Owner, The Culturist Union – A U.S. Air Force Veteran, Elbi has served as a diversity, equity, and inclusion advisor for several non-profit organizations, and was a Georgia Women’s Policy Institute Fellow. She was a winner of Savannah SCORE’s “BizPitch Savannah 2019” Entrepreneurial Competition, was selected for the prestigious American Express “100 for 100” program, and has been featured in a number of local and national publications.. The Culturist Union is a coffee house, artisan marketplace, and creative incubator centered around the artistic and social empowerment of Black creators.
  • Kewaan Drayton, Owner, Red Eye Film Productions, The Savannah Underground Theater Company, and Rip-N-Runners, LLC – Savannah-native, Kewaan K. Drayton is an entrepreneur, community organizer, and business consultant. In addition to his professional pursuits, Kewaan serves on the Board of the Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce and is a Certified SCORE Mentor. He enjoys mentoring aspiring business owners and educating male, minority youth on the criminal justice system so that they are empowered with information.
  • James Gardner, Owner, Gibraltar Trucking, LLC – James is a Savannah native. With dreams of starting a trucking company since he was a child, he finally got the opportunity in 2016 with the creation of Gibraltar Trucking LLC. With his motto “Constant Elevation Causes Expansion”, hard work, and dedication, he built his company from the ground up. Starting with a single carrier van, Gibraltar now has a fleet of five fully functional semi-trucks and has become one of the fastest growing trucking companies in the Southeast.
  • Ben Polote, Jr. – 2nd Generation President, The Polote Corporation – From an early age, Ben was groomed to lead the firm established in 1970 by his father, Benjamin Polote, Sr.  Since that time, The Polote Corporation has evolved from a home builder to a civil contractor to a large certified general contractor providing construction and project management services to corporations and municipal governments in the USA and abroad. Recently, the company was involved in construction of Savannah’s new Enmark Arena

The event will also include presentations by local organizations that offer resources to assist members of Savannah’s black community to become successful business owners.

The event will take place from 6:00pm to 8:00pm in the Mary C. Torian Auditorium at Savannah State University’s School of Business Administration. The event is FREE.

“Black In Business” is being presented by a partnership among Savannah State University, the Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce, Savannah Technical College, Truist, and Savannah SCORE.

“We are excited and proud to be bringing “Black In Business” to our black community and promoting black entrepreneurship throughout  the Savannah Metropolitan area,” said Moncello Stewart, President, Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce.

“The inspiring personal stories of the Black Entrepreneurs on our panel will provide invaluable insights into what it takes to become a successful business owner,”  said Warren Bimblick, Chapter Chair, Savannah SCORE.

“We are pleased to be part of this very special event”, said Dr. Brent Stubbs, Vice President for Economic Development at Savannah Technical College. “We look forward to sharing information with our black community about the Career Pathways offered by Savannah Tech that can lead to business ownership.”

The event is FREE, but registration is required. To register, go to

For more information, contact Michael Siegel, Savannah SCORE Vice Chair, at


About the Presenting Partners:

SAVANNAH STATE UNIVERSITY: Savannah State University, the first public historically black university in the State of Georgia, develops productive members of a global society through high quality instruction, scholarship, research, service, and community involvement.

THE GREATER SAVANNAH BLACK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The mission of the Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce is to empower and educate African-American, other minorities, and women owned businesses in the Savannah Metropolitan and surrounding areas that will foster a thriving and sustainable business environment. ​​

 SAVANNAH TECHNICAL COLLEGE: Savannah Technical College serves Coastal Georgia with quality technical education with campus locations in Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty Counties. Serving more than 10,000 credit and non-credit students annually, Savannah Tech offers nearly 150 different instructional programs,Adult Education classes, industry-specific training, and continuing education. The College serves as an economic and community development partner for the region, offering corporate and customized training and assessment programs for business and industry.

 TRUIST: Truist Financial Corporation is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspiring and building better lives and communities. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending; and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Truist is a top 10 U.S. commercial bank. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more at

SAVANNAH SCORE: SCORE is the nation’s largest provider of free business mentoring and educational services for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners. Savannah SCORE is one of the nation’s top SCORE chapters. In 2019, the chapter was named SCORE’s “Mid-Market Chapter of the Year”. In 2021, the chapter received SCORE’s award as “Outstanding Chapter for Community Partnerships”. And in 2020, Savannah was designated as a SCORE Diamond Level Chapter, an honor achieved by less than 10% of SCORE’s 245 chapters across the United States. In 2021, the chapter helped establish 237 new local businesses and 1,100 new local jobs.

Sign up for The Creative Coast’s weekly newsletter to get all of our featured news stories on innovation and startups in the coastal region delivered to your inbox.