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Making America: Immigration & Entrepreneurship in North Carolina, Tues, March 27 at 7:00 pm

Our 2018 Chandler Conversation in Southern Business History features four leading entrepreneurs who hail from around the world but now call North Carolina home. Please join us in the FedEx Global Education Center for this free panel discussion. Parking is free after 5:00 pm in the McCauley parking deck, directly below the FedEx Center.

Utibe Udoh is the owner of African Land, a retail establishment in Durham that specializes in African clothing, jewelry, sculptures, paintings, and other cultural products. Founded in 1989, the store is a “tribute to Motherland, Africa,” promoting African culture and heritage in North Carolina. Born in Lagos State, Nigeria, Udoh moved to Durham in 1981 to attend college. He received his B.A. in accounting from North Carolina Central University and an MBA from Campbell University.

Uli Bennewitz was born in Lima, Peru, raised in a small Bavarian village in Germany, and educated in Devon, England. He first came to the U.S. in 1980, and his first job was to clear 9,000 acres of farmland in eastern North Carolina. Hoping to build a healthier local food system without chemicals and factory food processing, Bennewitz built the Weeping Radish in Grandy, which has since grown into a 24-acre farm, brewery, butchery / charcuterie, and restaurant complex. He has been credited with inspiring the “brewpub bill” that enabled the microbrewing industry to boom in North Carolina.

Perla Saitz is the Program Director and Co-Owner (with Rebeca Cabrera) of the CHICLE Language Institute in Chapel Hill. The institute offers classes in language and literature for children and adults, as well as translation and interpreting services in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Portuguese, Karen, Burmese, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili. Saitz was born in Mexico City, but she has lived in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area since 1999. Cabrera is from Costa Rica, and she moved to North Carolina in 2009.

Amit Singh co-founded Spectraforce Technologies in 2004. Spectraforce is a global IT consulting, workforce solutions and IT outsourcing services firm with corporate headquarters in Raleigh and 11 offices/development centers across the U.S., India, and Jamaica. Amit moved from India to the United States in 1997 and completed the Executive MBA program at Kenan-Flagler Business School in 2003. Today, Spectraforce provides a portfolio of consulting, staffing, and outsourcing services and solutions to a broad range of clients and industries worldwide.

This panel discussion will be moderated by LaChaun Banks. Banks is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, where she studied global economics, trade, and development. She also attended the Chinese University of Hong Kong and earned an Executive MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School. As Associate Director for NCGrowth, Banks leads programs in economic development and manages teams that support local start-ups and businesses in rural areas. She specializes in creating jobs and equitable opportunities for people across the state.

Special thanks to our co-sponsors: the Center for Global Initiatives, the Carolina Asia Center, the Department of Asian Studies, the Latina/o Studies Program at UNC-CH, the Carolina Hispanic Association, the Center for European Studies, the Institute for the Study of the Americas, NCGrowth, and the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise.