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UA - Pulaski Tech to present Feb. 7 panel discussion, “Minority Business and Entrepreneurship 101: Diversity in Business”

UA - Pulaski Tech to present Feb. 7 panel discussion, “Minority Business and Entrepreneurship 101: Diversity in Business”

January 31, 2024

University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College will host a panel discussion titled Minority Business and Entrepreneurship 101: Diversity in Business on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 11 a.m. at CHARTS Theater on the UA-PTC Main Campus in North Little Rock.

Admission to the program is free of charge. It is open to the public as well as all UA-PTC students, faculty, and staff. The event is presented by UA-PTC Libraries and the UA-PTC Cultural Diversity and Community Involvement Committee.

The discussion will focus on how current and future minority business owners and entrepreneurs can navigate through the ups and downs of self-employment, and how to stay motivated for success.

Featured on the panel will be Little Rock entrepreneur Samantha Stewart; Kimberly Blackmon, director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative at UA – Pulaski Tech; Jamie T. Robertson, UA – Pulaski Tech recruitment coordinator; and moderator Ronica Crutchfield, UA-PTC reference and outreach librarian.

About the panelists

Samantha Stewart is an Alumna of the University of Arkansas Little Rock who served as a business-to-business account executive for 15 years. She redirected her passion for cooking and community service by establishing Certified Pies, Arkansas' inaugural Black-owned pizza company in 2020.

Despite grappling with challenges such as the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and food service regulations, Stewart, along with her co-owners, remained steadfast in pursuing their business vision. In 2022, she made the bold decision to leave her corporate position, fully immersing herself in the restaurant industry and undertaking expansion initiatives.

Kimberly Blackmon is a native of North Little Rock, Arkansas who holds a Bachelor of Arts in University Studies with concentrations in business, information technology, and healthcare management from the University of Arkansas. Currently she supports and empowers entrepreneurship and economic development as the Director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative at the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College.

Blackmon has a passion for developing programs, policies, and initiatives designed to enhance and support the empowerment of multicultural success among students and businesses. Her roles in higher education include working with The Network for Student Success at UA - Pulaski Tech, the first iteration of the Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) grant through the US Department of Education. She is owner and operator of Blackmon Essential Solutions, LLC. She is a Certified Gallup Clifton Strengths Coach as well as a Gallup Certified Clifton Strengths Discovery Course Leader and Trainer. She is a dynamic professional who exhibits consistency, responsibility, and empathy in her work.

Jamie T. Robertson is the college recruitment coordinator in the UA-PTC department of admissions. Also known as Coach Rob, has been recognized as one of Arkansas' top basketball-specific strength and conditioning specialists for the past 13 years. His leadership, passion, enthusiasm and innovative training techniques have demonstrated expertise in the youth athletic development field.

Moderator Ronica Crutchfield is the Ottenhemier Library reference and outreach librarian at the UA-Pulaski Technical College Main Campus. The Little Rock native has worked in public libraries for 10 years doing various outreach projects. She was a presenter at the 2019 Arkansas Library Association Conference conducting a session on how to start and maintain outreach programs for public and academic libraries. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 2012 with a Master in Library Science. She is an alumnus of the University of Central Arkansas where she graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor in History and a minor in Business. She also chairs the Library Committee, serves as recorder for UA-PTC Cultural Diversity and Community Involvement Committee, and is also staff senate president-elect.

About CHARTS

The Center for Humanities and Arts (CHARTS) is located at UA–Pulaski Technical College’s Main campus at 3000 West Scenic Drive in North Little Rock, Ark.

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