Celebrating African American Entrepreneurship

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County will celebrate Black History Month by featuring the past and future of African American entrepreneurship in Asheville.

On the evening of Saturday, February 24, 2018, a group of young men known as the Altitude Accelerators will make a special presentation about the history of local black business innovators. Musical accompaniment will be provided by the Community Outreach Choir. The event, which will be free and open to the public, will take place on the second floor of Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville, 36 Montford Ave. Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m., and the event will begin at 6 p.m.

Oralene Simmons, President of the MLK Association, stressed the importance of honoring African American contributions to Asheville and beyond. “We want to extend an invitation to everyone to join us as we remember and honor the lives of African Americans who continue to have a positive and significant impact on our society,” she said.

The Altitude Accelerators is comprised of young men who will be forming their own businesses through a Buncombe County grant-funded program. Part of their training is to research the history of African American entrepreneurship in the Asheville area. The nine minority males have been hand-selected for the Altitude Accelerators program. In addition to presenting about local black business pioneers, they will tell attendees about the businesses they will be creating during their time in the year-long program.

“We are happy to support this new group in a much-needed initiative,” said J Hackett, Executive Director of Green Opportunities and a mentor to the group. “Grooming the next generation of business leaders is vital to the future of an equitable ecosystem in Asheville and Buncombe County.”

For more information about this event, contact Michael Dempsey, Chair of the MLK Association’s Community Outreach Providing Empowerment (COPE) program at michael.dempsey@lr.edu or (828) 407-4269.


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