Detroit To Host 19th Annual National Women’s Business Conference

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Detroit To Host 19th Annual National Women’s Business Conference

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council to Convene 6,000 Attendees at Cobo Center

Conference Registration Now Open

LIVONIA — For the first time, the 2018 Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) National Conference & Business Fair will be held in Detroit at Cobo Center June 19-21, 2018. Michelle Richards, executive director of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council (Great Lakes WBC), announced that they are proud to be this years’ host in the Motor City.

Themed “Discover the Difference,” this is a unique opportunity for Michigan’s women business owners to meet with corporate purchasing representatives of national and international corporations. Some of the largest woman-owned businesses from around the country and major corporations are expected to attend. The three-day conference will bring a tremendous local economic impact by 6,000 attendees, including up to 600 regional business leaders, owners and influencers; to Detroit’s lodging, entertainment and restaurant venues.

What sets the WBENC conference apart is the possible introduction to national corporations. Lauren Aitch is the Owner of Our Own Apparel, a certified woman-owned business based in Lansing. She is a testament to attendance at the WBENC Conference leading to tangible results. “I attended my first National WBENC conference in 2017. As a result, we are exploring pilots with 3 major retailers, including Coca-Cola.”

According to Richards, Detroit offers several unique characteristics for the WBENC annual event. “Detroit’s innovative and entrepreneurial history, the City’s dynamic resurgence on the national scene, our international ports, and, of course, our global automotive and manufacturing economy combine to make Detroit an attractive destination for the 19th annual Conference. Additionally, the Detroit area has one of the largest concentration of women-owned businesses in the country.”

The WBENC National Conference & Business Fair sets the bar for conferences that serve women business owners. It is annually attended by certified women business owners; senior executives and procurement representatives from the Fortune 500 and the U.S. Government; and select partner organizations whose missions align with WBENC’s vision of expanding women’s business opportunities in the marketplace. The 2018 Detroit-based Conference will also feature three days of impactful programming, lectures and presentations from contemporary thought leaders, networking receptions and an exhibition area.

The Great Lakes WBC has formed a 15-member planning committee which includes women business owners representing numerous metro Detroit and regional businesses. The Host committee is chaired by Serafina Schorer, president and chief executive officer of RIM Custom Racks, a certified woman-owned business based in Detroit with a 40-year history. Nearly 60 volunteers compiled of corporate and women business leaders have joined the effort to promote and produce the event.

Registration for the WBENC Conference is now open. Go to for information, pricing and accommodations.


Founded in 1997, WBENC is the leading third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women, with more than 14,000 WBENC-Certified WBEs.

About Great Lakes Women’s Business Council

Founded in 1984, Great Lakes Women’s Business Council (Great Lakes WBC), a Michigan-based nonprofit organization, is a champion for women, minority and small business owners and provides access to capital and corporate procurement opportunities, certification for women-owned business enterprises and small business educational support. Great Lakes WBC represents more than 1,200 WBENC-certified women’s business enterprises generating approximately $14.4 billion in annual revenue and employing 45,400 U.S. workers, as well as 95 corporate partners in a range of industry sectors. For more information, visit

Contact:  Robin Kinnie

Great Lakes Women’s Business Council

Phone 734-838-3862