Regions, FedEx Backing Business Seminar

By Andy Meek

Regions Bank is joining FedEx Corp. to provide financial backing for a seminar for business owners this week that will include 20 Regions bankers providing customized business coaching for entrepreneurs.

The event is Inner City Capital Connections, a program coming to the FedEx Institute of Technology on the University of Memphis campus Tuesday, Aug. 29, with breakfast and registration kicking off at 8 a.m. and running through a closing reception at 7 p.m.

This will be the fifth ICCC seminar Regions has sponsored throughout its footprint, starting with the first one Regions helped bring to Memphis in August 2014.

The program is coming back to Memphis this week for the second time. It also has a record of accomplishment behind it – since first coming to Memphis, for example, 27 participants in the program have gone on to create 139 jobs, according to ICCC.

Now, the national program is hoping the support of both Regions and FedEx can help its impact in the city continue to grow.

At a kickoff breakfast program in March looking ahead to this week’s program, FedEx vice president Susan Spence talked about why FedEx is participating this time – in part because it wants to do more business with established Memphis companies.


Regions West Tennessee area president David May said his bank is participating, in part, because it brings world-class instructors to talk to small businesses and help them understand how to grow and get to the next level.

“They teach them how to take their business apart and understand why it works and what it needs,” May said. “The part that differentiates them, the next step, is they then help to complete the puzzle. So it may just be a tactic on organic growth, or it may take debt and/or equity. So people understand what avenue to head down.”

Following breakfast, the day’s itinerary starts from 9 a.m. to 10:20 a.m. with professor Gail Taylor in the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College discussing marketing strategies for business growth. That will be followed from 10:20 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. by Susan Perkins, a visiting professor at Northwestern University and an associate professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, who will lead an interactive session on how to create and sustain a competitive business advantage.

Other scheduled events include a panel discussion later in the afternoon on what equity providers are looking for, which will be moderated by city of Memphis director of business diversity and compliance Joann Massey. Panelists will include John Dobbs Jr., founder and president of Dobbs Equity Partners; Spence Wilson Jr., principal of Kemmons Wilson Cos.; Andrew Seamons, chief investment officer for Pittco Management LLC; and Matt Thornton, president and CEO of Butler Snow Advisory Services.

“Business owners participating in ICCC will come away with a better understanding of how to grow their business effectively,” May said. “They’ll learn about strategy, finance and planning in ways that can increase their chances of long-term success.

“The program is intense,” May said. “It’s also rewarding. And I believe the benefits will be seen not only by the businesses that participate, but also by their customers and our community as a whole.”