Emerging Domestic Markets Conference at the Darden School in April

March 6, 2008 – The University of Virginia's Darden School of Business will host the 2008 Darden Black Business Student Forum Conference on Emerging Domestic Markets on April 4.

Keynote speakers are Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television; Denise L. Nappier, treasurer of the state of Connecticut; and Thomas J. Baltimore Jr., co-founder and president of RLJ Development.

Johnson is founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, an innovative business network that owns or holds interests in a diverse portfolio of companies in the banking/financial services, real estate, hospitality, professional sports, film production, gaming and automotive industries. In July, USA Today selected him as as one of the 25 most influential business leaders of the last 25 years.

Nappier is the first African-American woman elected to serve as a state treasurer in the United States and the first African-American woman elected to a statewide office in Connecticut. She is now serving her third consecutive term since being elected in 1998. Nappier is principal fiduciary of the $26 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, and oversees the state’s $14 billion debt management program, $5 billion Short-Term Investment Fund, and $35 billion cash flow.

The conference presents an opportunity to interact with some of the most respected and successful private equity and venture capital professionals, entrepreneurs and marketers in this sector, with the goal of exploring the entrepreneurial opportunities and proven strategies for investing in and marketing to the constituents of Emerging Domestic Markets, or EDM.

EDM refers to people, places and enterprises that have been undervalued or undercapitalized in yet-to-be-explored or developed ethnic, regional and national markets. This includes the African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American markets, which combined have a $1.3 trillion purchasing power, a figure that ranks them among the top 10 economies in the world. Much like the emerging markets around the world, the EDM has created wealth for shareholders of prestigious firms and given rise to wealthy entrepreneurs.

There are many opportunities for growth and wealth creation in the EDM space. The conference will serve as a forum to highlight these opportunities by bringing together the thought leaders, students, practitioners, entrepreneurs and capital providers under one roof. The theme is "Emerging Domestic Markets: Linking Talent, Opportunity and Capital to Create Wealth."

The conference also includes a student team competition for solving a real-world business challenge: How might insurance companies market their traditional products to small-business owners in emerging domestic markets? First place includes a $2,000 cash prize.

Founded in 1955, the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business is a professional school that works to improve society by developing leaders in the world of practical affairs.

For information, e-mail communication@darden.virginia.edu.