FLINT, MI — The 2022 Black Business Expo and Financial Empowerment Summit was held on Friday, July 22 at the Flint Farmers’ Market.
The event was designed to highlight minority-owned businesses by providing professional financial education, information on local and government resources for business development, and social media presence.
Chennelle Dismond, chairperson of the Black Business Expo, inherited the organization in 2018 from the late Superintendent Quintin Marshall Senior.
“The purpose behind this event is to bring to life and spotlight the informational resources in our backyard,” she said. “This is a resource rich community. I know it for myself being here so long and everyone doesn’t know it. When a business lacks growth, often they think it’s because they have a lack of resources or they don’t know what resources they need. Today is an opportunity for us to connect the dots.”
Some of the topics included were:
- “How do I get started”
- “How to pivot in a pandemic”
- “Show me the money in my backyard”
- “Taking my business to the next level”
Dismond is born and raised in Flint, calling herself a “Flintstone.”
She is the vice president of community manager at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and through her upbringing, noticed the Black community needed an organization such as the Black Business Expo.
Her family heavily believed in education.
“One of the things I got to do with my grandparents at the old Hamady store was I used to write the check,” Dismond said. “Whoever could estimate the amount of things in the grocery cart, you could write the check. Not everyone had that experience and I learned that coming up. My family talked about things like that and not everybody did.”
Andrew Younger, executive director of the Flint and Genesee Chamber, was a representative at the event.
“We believe our economy will be successful when everybody has an equal opportunity to start their business and to grow in their careers,” he said. “We want to help people grow with networking connecting with customers and clients. It’s also about finding vendors and partners, along with mentors building those relationships. I think the African American community hasn’t felt welcomed and we want to make sure we change that.”
One of the changes Younger touched on was creation of the The African American Advisory Committee (AAAC) of the Flint & Genesee Chamber.
“They focus on highlighting businesses, highlighting resources for businesses and it creates a nice way entering in the chamber of community,” he said.
Dismond is planning on having a Black women’s business expo in October, while also planning on bringing back the Black Business Expo and Financial Empowerment Summit next year in Flint.
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