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Montclair to host entrepreneurship conference

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Helping entrepreneurs launch new ventures and guiding startups to the next level is the focus of the business roundtable this Saturday at Montclair State University.

"Reviving the Entrepreneurial Sprit: Creating Jobs and Wealth in a 21st-Century Economy" will feature speakers such as U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark); Michele Lee, regional president of Wells Fargo; and John Harmon, president of the African-American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.

The 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. conference, co-sponsored by the MSU School of Business, will feature a panel discussion among successful entrepreneurs and several lenders who finance new businesses.

The panel will be moderated by Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite, the Dean of the School of Business at Montclair State University.

Among the panelists will be Dennis Bone, director of the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship at Montclair and former chief executive of Verizon New Jersey; Lowell Hawthorne, CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill; Darren Dowdy, CEO of Razac Products; and Marjorie Perry, chief executive of MZM Construction.

About 250 attendees are expected, and they can attend six workshops devoted to new-business issues like access to capital, taxes and marketing. Participants include City National Bank, UCEDC and Rising Tide Capital.

Kay Lucas, a spokeswoman for the roundtable — which is co-sponsored by The Positive Community magazine — said the event is for "people who want to start a business and entrepreneurs who want their businesses to grow to the next level."

She said in New Jersey, "you see a high rate of new business startups, but one of the problems is that people have trouble converting a startup into a thriving enterprise. We want to see more of these businesses grow and become successful."

She said the entrepreneurs on the panel will talk about "the real ingredients … that go into turning a business from a one-person operation into an enterprise that creates jobs for other people."

Information is available at www.thepositivecommunity.com.

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