MMBC paves path to ‘The New Reality’ at 14th Economic Development Forum


National personalities will be featured guests at this year’s 14th Annual Economic Development Forum, slated as a virtual event on Wednesday and Thursday (July 21-22).

Sponsored by the Mid-South Minority Business Council (MMBC) Continuum, this year marks the second consecutive event staged virtually because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

This year’s theme is “The New Reality: A Journey of Recovery and Resiliency for Businesses and Communities.”

Among the more popular workshops will be the iHeartRadio workshop on marketing strategies and how to grow businesses and maximize available resources.

Participants also are flocking to the session being facilitated by Amazon. Artisans, who make things with their hands, such as candles, scented oils and jewelry, will be given valuable information on how to set up and expand new e-commerce businesses online.

Amazon also will also talk about its $150 million commitment to creating a Black business accelerator.

Jozelle Booker

“People are deciding whether or not to go back to work,” said Jozelle Booker, president and CEO of MMBC Continuum. “Amazon has committed this $150 million for those who may be interested in setting up an online platform to sell its products. This is huge. Now is an excellent opportunity to move from employee to business owner.”

The Memphis-based MMBC Continuum is a business development entity that connects minority and women suppliers with large corporations to build economic stability for diverse enterprises.

Job growth and increased revenues, workforce training, and joint-venture opportunities are the benefits offered to the organization’s members.

Four heavy-hitting national thought leaders are scheduled to present on selected topics, specifically chosen to concentrate on post-pandemic recovery for small and minority businesses.

“This year’s conference is very different from last year,” said Booker. “Every thing was in shut-down mode last year. People were working from home. Many had been laid off.

“But this year, we are dealing with the impact of the pandemic on both businesses and communities. This was unlike any other market disruption we have experienced. Everyone was effected.”

Booker said the two-day seminar will offer valuable information on what the post-pandemic reality will look like and what healthy businesses and communities should look like in this period of recovery.

“We want people to see recovery, not as a destination, but as a journey,” said Booker. “We are all on this journey together. Communities, families, institutions, and individuals have all been effected by this pandemic.”

Christine Selph, director of Global Communications, Eminence and Engagement at Deloitte, will kick off the confab on 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

At noon, Chief Operating Officer Tom Kaden at Mallory Alexander International Logistics, will follow.

On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., Candace Steele Flippin, second-vice-president and chief communications officer of Acuity Brands will speak.

At 12:30 p.m., Chairman and CEO Anthony Caudle of Redtail Capital Markets, will be the culminating presenter.

In addition to these keynotes, 12 breakout room discussions will be available for registrants. Four tracks will be available: corporate, business-to-business (B2B), business-to-community (B2C), and community.

As in past years, participants in the conference will be offered special opportunities to connect to and network with corporate decision makers.

Participants will also be given the opportunity to chat with each other and exchange ideas, Booker said.

“We invite everyone to register for this year’s conference,” said Booker. “This is an all-encompassing event.

“Even individuals who aren’t really interested in starting a new business right now, so much information on recovery and resiliency will be made available. Individuals, families, churches and other institutions stand to benefit.”

Registration for the event is free of charge. Anyone interested in taking part in the forum may register at:, or call: 901-525-6512.