What: Tri-State Black Business Expo
When: Saturday, Aug. 28; expo from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., awards presentation at 6 p.m.
Where: The Smokestack, 62 E. Seventh St., Dubuque
How: More information about the event and tickets, which cost $5, can be found at https://bit.ly/3BhD7Ow.
The first Tri-State Black Business Expo, an event aiming to build connections, will take place on Saturday, Aug. 28, in Dubuque.
The gathering is hosted by Collective Small Business Alliance of Dubuque, a nonprofit formed this year to support minority-owned small businesses and urban renewal efforts in the city.
Organizer A. Alanda Gregory said the idea for the event came last year after George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, an event that brought race and justice to the forefront of conversations in communities across the country. In Dubuque, Gregory said many started looking for ways to support Black-owned businesses.
“It was last year when people were asking about Black businesses in the area and how people can be more involved with supporting Black businesses,” Gregory said.
Gregory said her entertainment and media relations business, Tri-Phoenix Group, put together an updated list of local Black businesses.
“What we thought we could do is take it a step further,” Gregory added.
She said the upcoming event is a networking opportunity and a chance to shine a light on local entrepreneurs and small-businesses owners. It was scheduled for the end of August because the month is recognized by many in the U.S. as Black Business Month.
The event will be held at Smokestack, 62 E. Seventh St., and begin at 1 p.m. with an expo. Vendors, including businesses and community organizations, will have booths and information to share.
At 6 p.m., several businesses and organizations will be recognized during an awards ceremony. For example, one “foundation” award will go to a business that has lasted many years in the community. Another “trailblazer” award will go to a new organization that has made an impact on the community.
Speakers include Gregory, marketing professional Maurice Davis, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and local life insurance representative Nick Anderson.
Gregory said event organizers received a lot of interest from potential vendors and will have an information table with materials from businesses that weren’t able to secure a place before the event ran out of vendor slots. Gregory added that organizers hope the expo will be repeated in the future.
Anderson, who will speak on the financial blueprint for success, said he learned about many businesses he hadn’t heard of before when the Black business directory and the event were being put together.
“I’m a big believer in the power of proximity,” Anderson said.
He said he hopes people will go home with not only ideas about businesses they can support, but also the inspiration that they could do the same thing.
“If you can see it, you can be it,” Anderson said.