The fourth annual Black-Owned Business Excellence (BOBE) Symposium will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Washington Tacoma's William W. Philip Hall (1918 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) as well as online. The Seattle Public Library is a co-sponsor of this event.

This Black History Month kickoff event provides the tools, resources and information to empower entrepreneurs and business owners who are ready to relaunch, revive and expand their businesses in preparation for generational wealth and legacy building. The 2023 theme is “B(l)ack in Business – Building Our Legacy for Our Children.”

Register for the BOBE Symposium through this EventBrite link. The virtual event is free of charge, while the in-person event has a fee of $15. Scholarships are available for those who might benefit from having the registration fee waived; email for details. Find information and registration links at

Jenefeness Franke, one of the principal collaborators of BOBE, said, “With the help of our generous supporters, the collaborators of BOBE have worked tirelessly to promote a more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem in Washington. Our goal is to make sure that the business owners that are furthest away from access are aware and eligible for available resources.”



The 2023 BOBE Symposium will feature a variety of panel discussions, workshops and breakout sessions focusing on marketing, financial management, branding, leadership, operations, and nonprofit management. See the full agenda on the BOBE site.

Dr. George Fraser, CEO of FraserNet and founder of the award-winning PowerNetworking Conference, will serve as keynote speaker. Dr. Fraser said, “It would be my dream that within two to three generations we become the number-one employer of our own people. An aggressive path towards entrepreneurial leadership will help us greatly to manifest this dream.”

Regional leaders including Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards and State Senator T’wina Nobles will provide opening remarks. Panels and breakout sessions will be led by regional business owners and community leaders including Keisha Credit of Your Business Bestie; DarNesha Weary of Black Coffee Northwest; Kennedy Cockrel of the University of Washington; Chauné Fitzgerald of Wow Tri-Cities; Traci Harrell of National Black MBA of Seattle, and Lewis Rudd of Rudd’s R.U.B.B. Initiative.

Prior to the symposium, Black-Owned Business Excellence will award five $1,000 grants to Washington business owners. All small business owners who are registered in the state of Washington are eligible to enter by filling out this application by Monday, Jan. 23. Grantees will be notified on Friday, Jan. 27, and will also receive a ticket to the VIP dinner at the conclusion of the event.



The BOBE symposium is organized in collaboration with organizations including the U.S. Small Business Administration, City of Tacoma, Black Dot, Urban Leagues, Seattle Credit Union, The Seattle Public Library, Greater Seattle Business Association, Washington State Small Business Development Center, Minority Business Diversity Association, and the Washington State Microenterprise Association.



Black-Owned Business Excellence is a new, volunteer-led 501c3 business with more than a dozen organizations that have helped organize the calendar of events, including the U.S. Small Business Administration, Washington State Small Business Development Center, and other civic and business organizations and state and city governmental agencies focused on the advancement of BIPOC businesses. For more information or to register, visit



The Library believes that the power of knowledge improves people's lives. Our Library to Business program offers great resources for you to use for free, including dozens of classes and workshops every year in partnership with local organizations, as well as one-on-one virtual meetings to get specific help for your business. The Library is on the planning committee for the Black-Owned Business Excellence Symposium, and will support both the in-person and virtual event.

Contact the Library’s Ask Us service by phone at 206-386-4636 or by email or chat at Staff are ready to answer questions and direct you to helpful resources and information.