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Magic Johnson Kicks off 2013 BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo with Nationwide Insurance and Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman

May 15, 2013

Premier small business conference brings more than 1,200 entrepreneurs together to learn and network

Columbus, Ohio - Basketball legend, entrepreneur and philanthropist Earvin “Magic” Johnson helped kick -off the 2013 BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted by Nationwide Insurance. The conference is the nation’s premier business resource for African Americans and is being held for the first time in the conference’s history in Columbus, OH at the Columbus Convention Center. 

Today, BLACK ENTERPRISE President and CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. joined Magic Johnson, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman and Nationwide leaders Kirt Walker, President and COO Nationwide Financial and Gale King, Chief Administrative Officer at Nationwide’s headquarters in Columbus to begin the 4-day conference event. 

"I am so excited to kick off the BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo. This is an amazing conference because it provides a great platform for African-American entrepreneurs to share ideas, network and ultimately grow their businesses,” said Johnson. “I am also proud to once again be associated with Nationwide Insurance, a charter brand partner of my ASPiRE cable network, and more importantly a company dedicated to supporting the African-American community." 

Johnson spoke to a gathering of Nationwide Insurance associates and then hosted a “fireside” chat with more than 1,200 Conference attendees and members of the community at the Columbus Convention Center. 

Bringing this conference to Columbus was a collaborative effort that included local city leadership and support from various businesses and community members from across the Central Ohio region. 

“The City of Columbus and all of our partners are thrilled to host the 2013 BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Conference in our thriving region,” said Mayor Michael B. Coleman. “We invite conference attendees and visitors to enjoy some of our community’s greatest assets, including the hotels, restaurants, and nightlife surrounding the Columbus Convention Center and throughout the city.” 

"We are extremely excited to host the BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Conference & Expo for the very first time in Columbus,” said BLACK ENTERPRISE President & CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. “In addition to being the home of conference host Nationwide Insurance, Wendy’s (host of our Teenpreneurs Conference) and several other major corporations, the state of Ohio is where businesses such as Hightowers Petroleum, our 2013 Black Enterprise Industrial/Service Company of the Year, have made their marks as leaders of the BLACK ENTERPRISE 100s, the nation’s largest black-owned companies. Many thanks to Nationwide, our host sponsor for the third consecutive year, and a tremendous partner to us as we worked with Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman and the Columbus business community to make this year’s conference the best ever.” 

The BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo, which annually brings together more than 1,200 of the country's leading small business entrepreneurs and corporate executives, is designed to provide attendees with the most innovative strategies from today's top business minds and high-powered networking opportunities that help to propel small business owners from successful launch to growth and profitability. This year’s conference theme is: Accelerate Your Business. 

"Nationwide Insurance is proud of our partnership with BLACK ENTERPRISE and the opportunity to serve as the three time host sponsor of the 2013 BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneur Conference +Expo," said Nationwide Chief Administrative Officer Gale King. " Nationwide understands that being in business for yourself takes dedication, commitment and hard work, and it is our pleasure to partner with BLACK ENTERPRISE to recognize and support entrepreneurs today, and in the future." 

For updates, follow BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Conference page on Facebook and search the #BEEC hash tag on Twitter

About ASPiRE

ASPiRE is a television network targeted to African-Americans and celebrates the groundbreaking achievements of our past, our now and our next. ASPiRE offers a diverse programming mix of movies, series and specials featuring music, comedy, drama, faith/inspiration, theater/performing arts, lifestyle and news/information. The network was launched June 27, 2012 by Magic Johnson Enterprises, which acts as a catalyst for driving unparalleled business results for its partners and fosters community/economic empowerment by making available high-quality entertainment, products and services that answer the demands of ethnically diverse urban communities. ASPiRE is available in more than 15 million homes in 20 of the top 25 African-American markets including New York City, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, DC. through Comcast, Time Warner and FAVE TV. For more information, visit, and on Twitter @tvaspire.

About Magic Johnson Enterprises

Magic Johnson Enterprises acts as a catalyst for driving unparalleled business results for its partners and fosters community/economic empowerment by making available high-quality entertainment, products and services that answer the demands of ethnically diverse urban communities. For more information, visit

About BLACK ENTERPRISE is the leading website for Money, Small Business and Career development. Providing executive and entrepreneurial resources, information, and profiles on the topics of money management, employment, career and start-up development, features expert resource articles, original video packages, and blogs, customized to empower its niche audience while consistently providing universal resource-value. 

BLACK ENTERPRISE, your ultimate source to build Wealth for Life, is the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans. Since 1970, BE has provided essential business information and advice to professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and decision makers. Every month, BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine provides 4 million readers with information on entrepreneurship, careers, and financial management. A multimedia company, BE also produces television programming, business and lifestyle events, Web content, and digital media. Visit for more information. 

About Nationwide

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit