MOBE symposium’s two-day virtual gathering marks its 30th year

Yvette Moyo founded MOBE in 1992 to connect Black entrepreneurs in marketing, business and entertainment, providing support and guidance.

A conference that brings together Black entrepreneurs to discuss trends and opportunities in business celebrates its 30th anniversary this month with a two-day virtual gathering.

MOBE — which stands for “marketing opportunities in business and entertainment” — will hold its 2022 symposium on Thursday, April 21 and Friday, April 22 on the Hopin platform. Attendees are getting more than a conference, according to Yvette Moyo, MOBE’s founder.

Attendees of this year’s MOBE symposium are getting more than a conference, according to Yvette Moyo (above), the founder of MOBE. (Photo: Handout)

“You’re entering a network of people that are for you and are going to continue to be associated with you,” she said.

MOBE is where Black people renowned as experts in their field come together to discuss business issues in a place where they will not be dismissed. Recent statistics show how difficult the business world continues to be for Black entrepreneurs.

Even though one in five Black Americans start a business, only four percent survive the start-up phase because of debt and difficulties raising capital. White companies, on average, start with $107.000, about three times that of Black entrepreneurs, whose starting average amount is $35,000.

Moyo founded MOBE in 1992 to connect Blacks in the marketing, business and entertainment spaces with potential clients and serve as a place where Blacks — often shut out of a corporate America run — could find support and encouragement while learning about the latest trends.

In addition to the yearly conference, there’s now MOBE Mondays, a free weekly virtual event that focuses on the challenges Black businesses still face.

This month’s 2022 virtual conference will feature Byron Allen, chairman and chief executive officer of Allen Media Group, and Curtis Symonds, chief executive officer of HBCUGO.TV, a streaming service for more than 100 historically Black colleges and universities.

This month’s virtual conference for MOBE will feature prominent speakers, including Curtis Symonds (above), chief executive officer of HBCUGO.TV (Handout photo)

Allen Media Group owns HBCUGO.TV and TheGrio.

Symonds, who is also MOBE’s chairman, has a long history with the organization. When he served as an executive at BET, he recalled his industry colleagues telling him the MOBE conference was the place. He found that out firsthand.

MOBE took a hiatus in 2001, when corporate sponsorships dried up following the Sept. 11 attacks. Symonds talked to Moyo about bringing the group back because he’s passionate about its value. 

“It meant something to me, what it did for me over my career,” Symonds contended. “I thought it was really special, that we should try to help people now, and this new generation learns from folks who’ve been around for a while.”

On April 21, the MOBE conference’s theme will be “Independent Educational Narrative: HBCUs & Beyond.” The session is set to examine what Black children need to succeed in an educational system that doesn’t always address their needs. Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph of the ABC hit Abbott Elementary will introduce the day’s event.

On April 22, for the session titled “Solutions For Reimagining our Future,” marketing experts and entrepreneurs will share their insights with eager corporate executives in media, music, film, TV, sports, and technology. 

In addition to Allen and Symonds, scheduled speakers at this year’s MOBE symposium include Jason “J” Carter, co-founder and chief marketing officer at One Venture Group; Howard Fuller, founder and director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University, and author-historian Atlantis Browder.

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