Kingston’s black entrepreneurs came together Saturday to network, sell, discuss and recognize Black History Month as well as black businesses.
Less than a year ago, Martha Williams was in the process of planning to open up her own business. Now with the doors open at Pedal Works Cafe and Studios she’s hosting the Black Business Fair and Expo, an event designed to support and bring black entrepreneurs together.
Co-organizer, Tianna Edwards, says it was a match made in heaven.
“Martha has created this beautiful space that’s supporting so many local black-owned businesses. I reached out to Martha and was like, ‘would you want to take this on?” said Edwards.
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Williams eagerly agreed. She said it was a long journey to take her business from her home, to booths and then eventually to brick and mortar and that there are still many challenges that black entrepreneurs face.
“Money is a huge thing, marketing is a huge thing and I think it’s just, if we can get those two things, get some kind of functioning way to support small businesses, black businesses in particular because it is harder for us to get loans,” said Williams.
Last year a similar event was held on emancipation day,the same organizers wanted to do something bigger and tie it to black history month.
This sparked the inspiration for the fair and expo. Black business owners can to sell their goods and promote their businesses. Everything from hair and skin care, nigerian street food and art can be found, and the all important networking.
Edwards, who tracks licensed local black-owned businesses, said she’s noticed a lot of growth in local black-owned businesses in recent years.
“I’m seeing businesses that are actually in buildings, brick and mortar shops and hearing of more folks who are wanting to move into spaces like the way Martha has, so, I’m really seeing that development,” she said.
For both Williams and Edwards, the key for them is to not let the support end with Black History Month.
“I always say, we celebrate and honour these businesses during February, but we support them all year,”
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