Business mixer draws large crowd

More than 100 business owners and entrepreneurs gathered inside the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter on Tuesday, Jan. 10 for the Minority/Women’s Business Enterprise program’s annual mixer.

Business mixer draws large crowd
January 12
04:45 2017

Photo by Tevin Stinson



Earlier this week more than 100 business owners and entrepreneurs gathered inside the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter for an evening of networking and learning during the Minority/Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) program’s annual mixer.

Since 1983, MWBE has worked to ensure minorities equal opportunities when it comes to contracting and purchasing programs. This year MWBE partnered with the Black Chamber of Commerce, Forsyth Tech Small Business Center, and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter to sponsor the evening of networking.

This year’s event had an added twist: Along with the normal vendor set up, the casual gathering also included speed networking, which gave business owners the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with city agencies and contractors. After meeting with city agencies during the first round of scheduled sessions, Fred Salley, owner of Eco Environmental Services, a construction site cleaning service, said the mixer is great for people like him looking to get their foot in the door.

“I think the mixer is a great idea,” said Salley. “Events like this go a long way when you’re trying to grow your business. When you’re a small business owner it can be hard to get your foot in the door, that’s why we need more events like this one.”

Joyce Williams, who heard about the mixer through the city’s website, echoed Salley’s statements when speaking with The Chronicle during the event. Williams said with more opportunity, the sky is the limit for minority business owners in the area. She mentioned in many cases, small businesses suffer because they don’t know what’s out there.

“Despite what people think, there is a lot of help here for small business owners but we must do our part as well,” said Williams. “We can’t expect everything to be handed to us. We have to do our research and find out what’s out there.”

Before the start of the event, Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke thanked MWBE and the other sponsors for putting the event together. Burke, who has been a strong supporter of minority-owned businesses in the area since she was first elected to office in 1977, said small business is what makes the city thrive.

“We are blessed here in the city of Winston-Salem to have people who want to make small businesses grow,” continued Burke. “Whenever we bring people together for a positive program like this it helps us to keep our city moving in the right direction.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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