(Left) Adrian Miller, speaker; (right) Robyn Hatcher, speaker
This April, Asheville welcomes a first-of-its-kind event in Western North Carolina, the Black Business Expo. The three-day conference will host a variety of speakers, provide networking opportunities between keynote addresses and catered meals, and stage a trade show showcasing the area’s small businesses.
It’s the first of many expos planned by the newly created WNC Minority Business Association, a nonprofit that highlights and supports small businesses owned and operated by people of color. Founder and chairperson Rika Harrison created the association to act as an umbrella organization that will host future events for all minority groups. By participating in the expo, she says, small businesses can tout their products and services to the community as well as learn new and creative business tips from successful entrepreneurs. “One of the things I was looking for,” Harrison says, “is to have some topics that aren’t typically done at conferences.”
A number of prominent industry veterans are scheduled to speak. Harrison is excited about Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU and an investor on the hit ABC reality show Shark Tank. Precious Williams, dubbed a “Killer Pitch Master,” is also a featured speaker. And while the event is designed to support and uplift local Black-owned businesses, everyone in the community is invited. “I just want people to know they’re welcome,” Harrison says. “And no matter what race or color you are, please come out and support.”
WNC Black Business Expo
Crowne Plaza Resort Asheville,
1 Resort Dr.
Keynote luncheon is $50; the rest of the event is free to attend