The Black Economic Expo will hold its second annual expo for small businesses this weekend at Exchange Center at Expo Square.
Admission is free for the event, which is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
“The goal of the event is to have small businesses network with corporations and be able to build clientele that you can’t do with a home-based business,” said Jackie Zeigler, founder and president of the Black Expo Foundation. “Being able to come to this event, you can educate yourself on the do’s and don’ts of running a business.”
The BEE will feature vendors, a hair show, fashion show, small-business seminars and a panel discussion whose topics will include entrepreneurship.
Algeron Austin, former director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy authored a report in 2016 called The Color of Entrepreneurship. In it, he wrote that the United States is forgoing an estimated 1.1 million businesses owned by people of color because of past and present discrimination.
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, Austin found the nation would produce an estimated 9 million more jobs and have $300 billion more in national income if entrepreneurship among people of color were proportional to their distribution in the labor force.
To address this, he recommended creating tax credits to induce investments in minority-owned businesses, expanding the number of minority business development agencies and using alternative credit data for those with limited credit histories.
A career entrepreneur originally from Muskogee and reared in Tulsa, Zeigler has been involved in ventures that include a cleaning service, book store and credit repair, she said.
“I enjoy mentoring,” she said. “I also mentor with 100 Black Men and Women (of Tulsa) giving back to our youth.”