By: L. Michelle Smith

The desire to own a business runs deep in the black community. Believe me, I know. I used to own a small business myself. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of black business owners is steadily rising. They’re also a vital part of our business ecosystem. We want to show our appreciation by helping foster the community. That’s why AT&T is a key sponsor of the Black Enterprise (BE) Entrepreneurs Summit. This year’s summit is May 4 – 7 in Miami Beach, Florida. It runs during Small Business Week.

The BE Summit is 4 days of knowledge sharing, designed to give business owners the tools to meet and exceed their business goals.

We’re sharing tools and tips to help you succeed.

Check out the AT&T Digital Lounge – experience the latest in mobile tech and solutions for businesses of all sizes.

On the verge of the next big idea? Don’t miss the AT&T “Going Up! Elevator Pitch Competition” happening on May 5 at 6:30pm ET.  Winning pitches will win cash to support business dreams.

We’re also sponsoring a panel on using social media and mobility to market and drive sales. Business owners tell us they know they need to be engaged on social media. Rarely do they see the ROI for their efforts. I’ll speak on the panel called “Social Media for Sales,” where conference goers will learn how to turn social media followers into fans who purchase products and services. The panel kicks off on May 5 at 11:45am ET.

I’ll share insights on how the incredible AT&T social media team makes it happen every day. I’ll also share stories from my time as a small business owner.

Look for highlights of my session on the AT&T Small Business Circle during the conference. And check out video tips from entrepreneur coach extraordinaire Ramon Ray. Don’t forget to follow @ATTSmallBiz for links to the live stream. You can also follow my tweets @LMichellePR using the hashtag #BESummit.  

Director, AT&T Corporate Communications, U.S. diversity/citizenship & sustainability