Flint’s 2nd Annual Minority Business Contracting Expo happens this week

FLINT, Michigan — On Thursday, October 26 from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM, the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance will host the second Business Bridge Minority Business Contracting Expo at New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church (1035 E Carpenter Rd.) in Flint.

“Like the directory, the expo is designed to help minority-owned businesses make connections, find resources, and promote their businesses to area buyers,” said Sandra Johnson, executive director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Community Relations for the Flint & Genesee Group and project manager for the Business Bridge initiative.

Date/Time Information:
  • 9:30 a.m. - Registration, Networking, and Buyer Expo
  • 11:00 a.m. - Welcome and Speaker
  • 11:30 a.m. - Lunch
  • Noon - Panel discussion
  • 1:15 p.m. - Networking and Buyer Expo
  • 2:00 p.m. - Program Concludes

The Expo is a Business Bridge event to support minority-owned small businesses in Genesee County. The Business Bridge is an online directory of minority-owned small businesses in Genesee County. Listing your business on the Business Bridge is free and a great way to grow your connections.

“The Flint & Genesee Group aims to create a place where people thrive, and businesses invest and grow. To do that, it’s important that we work to create a more racially-just community — one that offers equitable opportunities and outcomes for our businesses and residents,” said Johnson.

To bridge the existing gaps in resources and connections needed to maintain thriving businesses, the Minority Business Contracting Expo is targeting its outreach to small businesses owned by someone who is Black, Indigenous, and/or a person of color (BIPOC) who represent a significant portion of our business community in Genesee County. 

The free event was created to support minority-owned small businesses in Genesee County.Expo attendees can expect to hear from minority-owned business owners, including Jason Bey of My Bee’s Nest and Sheena Harrison of Drinks of Essence, and engage with several panels and guest speakers. There will also be several networking opportunities with other local business owners. Local buyers will be based at tables throughout the venue in an expo-style format, with time set aside when businesses can introduce themselves and the products/services they provide.

For residents interested in supporting the event, Johnson encourages “community members to consider the digital directory when looking for different services and products. Whether you need a hair stylist, landscaper, or something else entirely, the Business Bridge is a great resource.”

The Flint & Genesee Business Bridge digital directory holds details, websites, and contact information for more than 200 businesses that provide everything from commercial cleaning and catering to employment screening and shredding services. Participating small businesses also have access to various resources, including local requests for proposals (or RFPs) via the Business Bridge hub in the Startup Space app. 

Business community members can also look forward to the monthly Business Bridge training series that runs through the end of this year. Topics include:

Date: October 12, 2023
Topic: Elevate Your Brand with 'Pitch Your Brand by Ebonie Gipson'

Date: November 1, 2023
Topic: Business Banking 101

Date: December 6, 2023
Topic: Responding to RFPs

Johnson encourages Flint residents to continue engaging with the Flint & Genesee Group. “Small business development is critical to our community’s economic success. Resources like this play an important part in that work.”

To learn more about the Flint & Genesee Business Bridge directory, click here. And to register for Thursday's event, click here.
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Read more articles by Brianna Nargiso.