Business League banquet a delight

Cher Best is happy to be "so square".

I had the pleasure of attending the 41st annual CSRA Business League Banquet on Saturday. I had a wonderful time, and it's always a joy to see people get dressed up and support a worthy cause.


For those who might not be familiar with the CSRA Business League, it was founded in 1970 and serves as an advocate for minority, women and disadvantaged businesses in the Central Savannah River Area. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing modern strategies and services that give the female and minority business owner the tools to maintain a successful small business.

Dr. Randal Pinkett the co-founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm in Newark, N.J., and spokesman for the Minority Information Technology Consortium, was the guest speaker. He is a former college athlete who holds five academic degrees from Rutgers, Oxford and MIT.

Pinkett is also the author of Campus CEO, No Money Down CEO and Black Faces in White Places, but perhaps is best known as the fourth-season winner of NBC's hit reality television show The Apprentice , with Donald Trump. He was among 18 candidates selected from 1 million applicants to compete for the opportunity to run one of Trump's companies.

Pinkett talked about everything you ever wanted to know about business but have been afraid to ask. He talked about the who, what, where and why of the changing face of the business world and what the future entrepreneur will need to do to survive.

He was moving, motivating and very real. It was quite a coup for the CSRA Business League to have him as the guest speaker. Pinkett is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, as is Business League Executive Director Ellis Albright.

The event was a virtual who's-who from the community and was very elegant. District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken was in attendance, as were Sen. Hardie Davis and Reps. Quincy Murphy, Gloria Frazier and Wayne Howard.

One of the highlights at the annual event was when the Business League identified and honored the outstanding accomplishments of small business owners, elected officials who have shown dedicated service and women entrepreneurs.

Chiquita Jones and Jacqueline Coleman of Muscle Restore Therapy were named the Women Entrepreneurs of the Year; Rep. Howard walked away with the Elected Official of the Year Award; and Dr. Varnell Gaines and Tyjuan Williams of Dr. Gaines and Williams Family Dentistry were the 2011 Small Business Owners of the Year.

Hats off to the CSRA Business League for a very nice event. I look forward to the 42nd.

Minority or women small-business owners, and those who are seeking to become entrepreneurs should check out the services of the CSRA Business League. It is at 821 12th St. and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.