Black Expo USA promotes small firms

May 11, 1991|By Maria Mallory

Black Expo USA, a traveling exposition showcasing minority enterprise, makes its Baltimore debut today at Festival Hall.

The two-day event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and tomorrow, is the brainchild of New York-based promoter Jerry Roebuck, chairman of Black Expo USA.

Mr. Roebuck, who launched his first Expo in New York two years ago, hopes to attract Baltimoreans who are seeking to learn more about black- and female-owned businesses and their products.

"Many of these businesses can't afford radio, TV and newspaper advertisements to let the consumer know they even exist," Mr. Roebuck said. "Their existence is sometimes even threatened because they aren't supported by their own community."

Many of the 150 companies that are expected to rent exhibit space are small, with fewer than 20 employees. Their wares range from skin-care products to underwear.

With the backing of Coca Cola USA and other businesses, including local radio station WXYV (V-103), Mr. Roebuck provides a forum for consumers and vendors to mingle. In addition, some large corporations like World Book Educational Products and the Prudential Life Insurance Co. will be on hand to talk to job seekers.

Expo will also present seminars, such as Coke's "How To Do Business With Corporate America," and workshops for entrepreneurs or future business owners. Broadcaster Tony Brown will deliver the event's keynote speech tomorrow.

But the Expo's not all business. "We have all types of entertainment taking place," Mr. Roebuck said.

Baltimore is the third stop in Expo's 1991 eight-city tour. Other sites are Atlanta, Houston, Oakland, Calif., New York, Washington, New Orleans and Los Angeles.

Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children, with mothers admitted free tomorrow in honor of Mother's Day.

More information about Expo is available at 244-8075 or 244-8076.

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