Black Business Expo to showcase local entrepreneurs in a ‘first of firsts’ for Muskegon

MUSKEGON, MI – The first Black Business Expo in Muskegon will feature dozens of local businesses and provide education for entrepreneurs this summer.

Black Wall Street Muskegon, an organization formed to empower Black-owned businesses with resources and networking opportunities, is hosting the one-day event at the new Van Dyk Mortgage Convention Center on June 19.

“It’s the first of firsts,” said Black Wall Street Muskegon Founder Lashae Simmons II. “The first Black Business Expo held at the convention center. It’s making history.”

The expo is broken into two parts: an educational symposium and a vendor showcase.

The symposium features a “Million Dollar Roundtable” and breakout sessions that will provide information for business owners looking to grow their organization.

Related: History of Black-owned businesses in Muskegon highlights ‘entrepreneurial gene’

Speakers include Jemesha Smith, the CEO of Peachy Pure, William Roberson, CEO of Shoreline Staffing, Michael Buxton, CEO of Load A Spud,

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Pa. official to get Black History Hero Award for aiding small diverse businesses

The African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Pennsylvania has announced the recipient for their Black History Hero Award.

The group has selected Kerry L. Kirkland, deputy secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities at the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, to receive the award this year. The award ceremony will be held at Temple University Harrisburg campus at 1 p.m. on Feb. 25. The event will be invitation only due to COVID-19.

In a press release from the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Pennsylvania, the group explained Kirkland’s award was for his work “assisting Small and Small Diverse Businesses, as well as the general public, during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In particular, it was Kirkland’s creation of the COVID-19 Small Diverse Business and Community Taskforce that drew kudos from the AACCCP. Among other initiatives, the task force helped to organize the sterilization of the Harrisburg capitol during

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Colleges to house new center that trains Black entrepreneurs

CHICAGO (AP) — A new center for training Black entrepreneurs will be opening in Atlanta as part of a collaboration announced Monday between Spelman College, Morehouse College and an advocacy organization made up of business leaders.

The Center for Black Entrepreneurship is expected to start operating for the fall 2021 semester. Details of the collaboration were shared with The Associated Press ahead of the announcement.

“In 2020 we saw an acknowledgement from many in the investor community that there needs to be a change, that we need to take a look at these barriers and how they are preventing talented aspiring Black entrepreneurs from reaching their full potential,” said David Clunie, executive director of the Black Economic Alliance, the advocacy group involved. “We need to give them the education, resources and opportunities they need to really succeed.”

The center will be housed in Spelman’s new Center for Innovation & the

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Website pairs Black professionals with tourism jobs


Stephanie Jones is founder and CEO of the National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative and a United States Travel and Tourism Advisory board member.

Stephanie M. Jones

A one-stop-shop website aimed at matching Black professionals with tourism business opportunities just went live.

The Black Tourism Talent Directory features profiles of Black businesses, professionals and students and encourages destination marketing organizations, travel brands, associations and media to connect with them for employment opportunities.

The site is the brainchild of Stephanie Jones, owner of Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours and founder of the National Blacks in Travel and Tourism Collaborative. Jones hopes that the site can help level the playing field for Black professionals in the tourism industry.

“We don’t want them to continue to say we can’t find black talent,” she said in a recent interview.

In April, the National Blacks in Travel and Tourism Collaborative plans to expand the

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