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Florida SBDC Network announces keynote speaker lineup for Small Business Success Summit

Pensacola, Fla. – The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, today announced keynote speakers for its inaugural Small Business Success Summit, which will take place June 27-28, 2022 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

The summit, themed “Contracts, Capital and Connections” will provide opportunities for small business owners from across the state to learn strategies to access capital, win contracts, and make valuable connections.

The summit will feature keynote addresses by Phyllis Newhouse, founder and CEO of cybersecurity firm Xtreme Solutions and CEO of ShoulderUp Technology Acquisition Corp.; and Kwame Anku, CEO and chairman of Black Star Fund.

Phyllis Newhouse, founder and CEO of Xtreme Solutions and CEO of ShoulderUp Technology Acquisition Corp.

Kwame Anku, CEO and chairman of Black Star Fund

“Our vision is for the Summit to become the premier event for small businesses in our state,” said Greg Britton, state director of the Florida SBDC Network. “We know it takes a lot for a small business owner to step away from their business so we want attendees to leave with actionable tips and strategies to make meaningful connections, access capital, and secure contracts. There is no more fitting way to round out our conference agenda than by featuring keynote addresses from Phyllis and Kwame, who have supported and inspired countless entrepreneurs to explore new futures for themselves and their businesses.”

Newhouse is a serial entrepreneur, investor, retired senior military officer, and mentor. After a successful career in the US Army, Newhouse founded cybersecurity firm Xtreme Solutions, Inc, scaling it to become one of the fastest growing women-owned businesses in the nation. In 2020, Newhouse launched Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), making her the first African American female CEO to take a company public. In 2021, Newhouse would go on to launch ShoulderUp Technology Acquisition Corp, raising $300 million in its IPO. Newhouse is also the founder of ShoulderUp, a nonprofit she created alongside Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis to help mentor and support women on their entrepreneurial journey.

Anku is the CEO of Black Star Fund, an early-stage venture capital fund investing millions of dollars into Black-led high growth companies. He is the first Black solo fund manager in U.S. history to raise a venture fund with an all-Black portfolio. Prior to the Black Star Fund, Anku was recruited by the legendary rock star Prince to develop a technology platform and lead a nationwide initiative called #YesWeCode, supported by the iconic musician. Named “One of the Top 25 Black Venture Capitalists to Watch” by Pitchbook, Anku has spoken to business leaders around the world at venues including Ghana Tech Summit, The Obama White House, SXSW, TEDx, Harvard Business School, Stanford Law School, Ross School of Business, CNN, MSBNC, BBC and Sirius XM.

In addition to keynote addresses, the Small Business Success Summit will feature over 12 breakout sessions, and networking opportunities that will help small businesses take their business to the next level.

The Florida SBDC Network extends its gratitude to this year’s sponsors and partners: United Midwest Savings Bank, Florida Power & Light, Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, Thryv, Intuit Quickbooks, CareerSource Florida and the Florida Economic Development Council.

Registration is $199, with a discounted, early-bird rate of $175 available until May 29. For more information about the Small Business Success Summit, and to register, please visit

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