Minority Business Expo Goes Virtual

Flyer for Triad Minority & Women's Business Expo
By all accounts, COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on small businesses, especially those owned by minorities, so says Ohio congresswoman Joyce Beatty, who testified at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion last month.

“Small businesses have experienced a 22% closure rate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic from February to April, but the closure rate for minority-owned businesses is significantly higher…with 41% of Black-owned businesses closed over the same period.”

That’s why this month’s Triad Minority and Women’s Business Expo couldn’t be more timely. I asked Expo director Reginald McCaskill, President and CEO of Maximum Enterprises, how his event can help counter the trend toward closures.

“Most minority-owned businesses don’t have the revenue to market themselves like larger companies, so the opportunity for them to participate in the Expo brings them to a wider audience, and allows them to network across industries.”

This is the seventh year for the Triad Minority and Women’s Business Expo, which takes place on Saturday, August 29, from 12 noon until 4pm. But the big change from last year’s event is in the venue. As a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, this year’s Expo will be virtual, via Zoom. I wondered if that would discourage participation. Just the opposite, McCaskill told me.

“We just opened up our registration a week ago, and believe it or not, we already have 75 businesses that have registered for this virtual Expo. We’re excited about the opportunity and the platform. It’s going to be extraordinary!”

In addition to giving Triad area businesses an opportunity to showcase their products and services, the Expo also helps to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. That’s because proceeds from the Expo go to support the “Kids Biz Training Program”, which helps students in grades 6-12 learn how to start their own businesses.

“The Kids Biz entrepreneur program has allowed youth to get involved and get an early start. It’s a real priority for us because it allows them to develop a business mindset at a young age, and introduces them to an audience of customers they may otherwise not reach,” said McCaskill.

The Triad Minority and Women’s Business Expo is being sponsored by Truliant Federal Credit Union, a company who is involved in community activities on many levels, including awarding scholarships to students, and financial education grants to teachers. I asked Sherri Thomas, Chief Human Resources Officer, why Truliant wanted to be involved with the Expo.

“Community is very important to Truliant, so much so that it’s actually one of the core values that our employees pledge to uphold each and every day. We’re proud to be a partner of an event of this magnitude that celebrates and recognizes minority businesses, and what they do for the community, and for the services they provide.”

“Truliant has been a corporate sponsor for this Expo since its inception, and we’re really excited about their continuous partnership,” said McCaskill.

The Triad Minority and Women’s Business Expo occurs each year during Black Business Month, which gives the event particular significance.

“We view the Expo as a celebration of Minority businesses, and the exposure we give them is second to none,” said McCaskill.

For more information, or to register, visit TriadMinorityBusinessExpo.com.


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