Brenda Barnicki

Brenda Barnicki (Panelist)


How can we use our entrepreneurship to benefit our region?

Bellafina Chocolates is inspired by the creativity of young people. Appalachian Sustainable Development is motivated by healthy, sustainable and locally-sourced food. Spearhead Trails’ passion is getting people out into the natural beauty of this region.

From making chocolate, to feeding communities, to becoming one with nature, all three participants of the social entrepreneurship panel have one thing in common: a vision of creating good for their communities. By looking forward, these social entrepreneurs have seen their big ideas blossom into sustainable businesses that work to empower and support local economies.

People are at the center of each business. They’re the consumers, the employees and the leaders. Recognizing the importance of who a business affects is one of the most important aspects of starting a business. So, where should you start?

During this session, panelists will discuss how we can forge results out of innovative ideas, see how businesses can create small and large change in a region, and how we can create a sustainable environment for broad economic growth.

BRENDA BARNICKI is a former Fortune 500 vice president and business leader. In 2010, she combined her passions for leading businesses, making chocolates and advocating for children.

Today she is the founder and president of Bellafina Chocolates, a Kingsport-based gourmet chocolate company that donates 100% of its profits to children’s charities and is run almost entirely by volunteers plus positions she created to help struggling single mothers and women in recovery.

Bellafina Chocolates is a two-time KOSBE Award winner and was named to list of best chocolate truffles for gifts. Bellafina specializes in artisan chocolate truffles and can customize corporate gifts, special event favors and personal gifts. Find out more at or follow Bellafina on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.