Thursday, July 18, 2024

101 Women in Business Conference Celebrates Success and Empowerment

by BIZ Magazine

Shreveport, Louisiana – The Southern University at Shreveport’s Small Business Development Center (SUSLA SBDC) concluded Women’s History Month with resounding success at the 4th Annual 101 Women in Business Conference, held “On The Red” from March 27 to March 29 at Bally’s Casino & Hotel in Shreveport. This three-day event marked a significant milestone in empowering women entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, providing a platform to share experiences, tackle challenges, and celebrate achievements in the business world.

The conference commenced with a vibrant welcome and networking mixer at Cassandra’s On the River, featuring author Dr. Kim Carter-Evans and collaborators of the book, “Leave a Trail of Glitter.” Throughout the event, attendees were treated to inspiring keynote speeches, engaging panel discussions, and informative workshops tailored to empower and educate women in business. Over 150 attendees had the opportunity to glean insights from industry leaders, forge connections with like-minded professionals, and gather invaluable knowledge to propel their professional aspirations.

Asia Lynn Hunter, a retired Air Traffic Controller and Air BnB owner, expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “This was the best conference that I’ve ever attended. The speakers were authentic and raw speaking of how they birthed their pain into passion.”

The conference welcomed esteemed guests, including the Honorable Mayor Tom Arceneaux, Caddo Parish Commissioner Stormy Gage-Watts, and SUSLA’s Chancellor Dr. Aubra Gantt, among others. An integral component of the event was the presentation of awards, recognizing outstanding achievements in entrepreneurship, capital infusion, resilience, startup success, and small business advocacy.

  • Anneka Alexander received the “Entrepreneurial Excellence” award.
  • Geleatha Winbush was honored with the “Capital Infusion Achievement” award.
  • Farron Blaney was recognized for “Resilience in Business.”
  • Chillon Caraway received accolades for “Startup Success.”
  • Bonnie Moore was celebrated as the “Small Business Champion.”

The success of the conference would not have been possible without the unwavering support of speakers, sponsors, and attendees. Organizers extended their gratitude to all participants, reaffirming their commitment to fostering a supportive and empowering ecosystem for women in business.

Looking ahead, SUSLA SBDC remains dedicated to its mission of promoting economic development and entrepreneurial growth in the region. For more information about the SUSLA SBDC and its initiatives, visit

101 Women in Business Conference: A Legacy of Empowerment

The inception of the 101 Women in Business Conference in 2021 marked a pivotal moment in advancing the role of women in entrepreneurship. Originating from a conversation spearheaded by Jo Ann Lawrence, Deputy District Director at the U.S. Small Business Administration, the conference quickly gained momentum as a platform to address the critical needs of women in business, coinciding with the onset of Women’s History Month.

In collaboration with esteemed figures such as Ada Womack Bell, Director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University, and Deanna Smith, Executive Director for Strategic Engagement at Southern University and A&M College, Office of Research, the initiative took shape. Their collective efforts laid the foundation for a transformative event aimed at empowering and equipping women entrepreneurs with the tools for success.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the inaugural conference in 2021 attracted 181 virtual attendees, exceeding expectations and setting the stage for future growth. The following year saw an expansion of the conference’s reach through collaboration with sister campuses, Southern University New Orleans and Southern University Baton Rouge, garnering widespread support from university leadership and community partners.

With each successive year, the conference evolved to encompass a broader spectrum of initiatives, including vendor tables, gala events, and comprehensive coverage of women’s needs in business. The generous support of sponsors such as Hancock Whitney further bolstered the event’s impact, ensuring its success with over 300 attendees in 2022.

As the conference enters its fourth year, SUSLA SBDC remains committed to its mission of empowering women entrepreneurs and driving economic growth in the region. With attendance numbers on a steady incline and a growing legacy of empowerment, the 101 Women in Business Conference continues to serve as a beacon of inspiration for women in the entrepreneurship space.

The remarkable growth and success of the conference underscore the significant and growing presence of women in business, highlighting their contributions as drivers of innovation, economic vitality, and community prosperity. As women entrepreneurs continue to chart new paths and break barriers, the 101 Women in Business Conference stands poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of entrepreneurship and empowerment.

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