Savannah SCORE’s “Black in Business” event focussed on empowering & connecting

Savannah SCORE’s 2023 “Black in Business” event took place on Wednesday, August 2nd at the Eckburg Auditorium of Savannah Technical College. This year’s event served as a platform for local black-owned businesses to share stories of success and hardship, creating a space for growth and learning, as well as an opportunity to meet and network with new individuals. The event was sponsored by Truist, The Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce, Savannah Technical College, and The Creative Coast.

Mayor Van Johnson of Savannah set the tone with his commitment to fostering opportunities here in Savannah for underrepresented groups in the business landscape. He acknowledged the challenges that come with entrepreneurship and encouraged the attendees to work together, work hard, and always invest time in self-improvement. Mayor Johnson emphasized to aspiring entrepreneurs in the crowd that their network is their net worth, stating that the “the City of Savannah is committed to helping you be your best”.

Mayor Van Johnson - Black in Business

Mayor Van Johnson presents at SCORE Savannah’s Black in Business Event.

Dr. Zelonia Williams shared her story of emerging as a serial entrepreneur, running four businesses in tandem. Her businesses include Celebrations Unlimited Events, Patches 24/7, and Future Minds Literacy and Adult Education, Inc. Driven by a sense of purpose, she narrated her journey from event planning from the early age of 9 years old to owning and operating a custom embroidery business. Her advice to the crowd focused on the importance of a robust business plan, staying ahead of the curve, and maintaining personal integrity.

Next, the crowd had the opportunity to hear from Commander Gregory Black, who served as the third-ever black deep-sea diving officer in United States Navy history. Commander Black spoke to the crowd about the importance of perseverance and putting customers first, sharing his experience of turning military skills into what is now a successful business with government contracts. His company, Patriot Precision, is a printing and sign company located in downtown Savannah. 

The crowd also heard from Valencia G. Muldrow, Founder and CEO of the Alliance for Institutional Equity. Muldrow shared about what it was like growing a business while experiencing familial loss. She also focused on the importance of “knowing your audience” and continuous learning. Muldrow’s personal stories exemplified the importance of authenticity and personal growth all while maintaining a positive mindset.

Lastly, the crowd heard from James Bennett, better known as JB Mogul. JB provided insight drawn from his journey as a successful real estate investor in the greater Savannah area. With a background in the US army, JB utilized the disciplines he learned to transform his company into a multi-million dollar real estate empire. He encouraged the crowd with his own advice stating that being persistent and embracing frequent change was a major pillar in his own success.

The take-home message for this year’s event was that being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. The many challenges and difficulties that arise throughout owning a business, whether they be related to entrepreneurship or personal circumstances in conjunction, can test anyone’s limits. Bringing diverse industries and entrepreneurial perspectives together allowed the crowd to be inspired and keep pushing forward with their startups. This annual event truly set out to do what it accomplished: empower entrepreneurs and business owners in Greater Savannah to launch, climb and excel!

To learn more about Savannah SCORE, click here.