One local activist with ties to the Conway and Little Rock chambers of commerce decided to pool his resources to create an event filling a gap in his community.

Jimmy Warren, who was named the 2018 Outstanding Young Minority Professional, said he helped organize the inaugural Connect Conway: Minority Entrepreneur Night because “in my area, I have noticed there is no African American programming for Black History Month.”

“This is ever important in the business community because there are many black and minority small business owners. My idea [was] to create a small, networking event in February aimed at young, urban professionals,” Warren said, noting that the event is open to all people. “I do not want this event to be only for African Americans but aim to create an inclusive, diverse environment. Specifically I’d like not only people from the young urban professional community but I’d like to attract those who do business with this community or aim to market and potentially use this demographics services.”

The event will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Old Chicago Garden Room.

After an hour of networking, the event will move on to a pitch competition sponsored by Conductor where the winner will receive $500, tickets to several Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce events and a free one-year membership to the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce.

The pitch competition will be judged by four to five diverse professionals from the area, Warren said.

He said admission includes two drink tickets and heavy hors d'oeuvres and is free thanks to partnerships with the chambers of commerce, Conductor, Sandstone Real Estate Group, Harris Plastering & Construction and All State Insurance – Chris Hervey.

“I just wanted to be able to showcase Conway's minority business community and these organizations said yes,” Warren said. “It shows their commitment to diversity.”