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Making America: Immigration & Entrepreneurship in North Carolina

March 27, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 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, art, and 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 Peru, raised in Germany, and educated in England. After moving to the U.S. in 1980, 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. He helped inspire the “brewpub bill” that enabled North Carolina’s microbrewing industry to boom.

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 local 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. As a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, Banks studied abroad at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; she later earned an Executive MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School. As Associate Director for NCGrowth, she leads programs in economic development and supports local start-ups in rural areas, 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 Center for European Studies, the Institute for the Study of the Americas, the Latina/o Studies Program, the Carolina Hispanic Association, NCGrowth, and the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise.


March 27, 2018
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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Center for the Study of the American South


FedEx Global Education Center
301 Pittsboro St
Chapel Hill, 27514 United States
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