First BIPOC Business Expo in Brooklyn Center highlights minority-owned businesses
Entrepreneurs of color gathered in Brooklyn Center on Saturday for the first BIPOC Business Expo to highlight minority-owned businesses and provide tools needed for success.
Tashie George, IFRI LLC owner, organized the event hoping to bridge gaps in minority communities.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, as of 2021, 9.6% of businesses in Minnesota are owned by minorities.
“I just wanted to create something like generational wealth for my children and just to show them that all things are possible,” Tiffany Hicks, Elite Boutique owner, said.
Elite Boutique is Hicks’ creation.
“I’ve opened up my accessory line to have more products for everyone,” Hicks said.
She’s one of many minority business owners who set up shop at the Earle Brown Heritage Center. Entrepreneurs showcased products and visions that became a reality.
Hicks explained the journey was not easy.
“It was a little challenging,” Hicks said
Experts said people of color often run into barriers when trying to get their business off the ground ranging from less access to essential training, financial challenges and lack of social capital.
“I like to be able to help with establishing your foundation, giving them a little bit of insight into things that they need to do to get started,” Jacqueline Rambin, collaborative career coach, said.
Rambin provided free resources at the expo to help with business development and goal planning.
“I really focused on helping individuals build generational wealth that’s what’s most important to me,” Rambin said.
The expo’s theme is “Rebuilding Foundations: The Do’s and Don’ts of doing business”
Five BIPOC businesses will pitch their ideas live and have the chance to win funding. Attendees can strengthen skills in workshops and visit the trade fair.
“This is my chance to do pop up shops and have people see and try on my products and just get my name out there,” Llana Rojas, Let’s Roar business owner, said.
‘Let’s Roar’ is Rojas’ active wear and jewelry shop.
She said pop-up shops are just the beginning and she has her eyes set on the end goal.
“I would love to have a storefront and that’s my absolute goal. To have multiple branches and have customers in all countries and all states,” Rojas said.