Watch Now: Decatur Gathers For Second Annual Black Business Expo | Local company
DECATUR – Selling a diverse line of lip balms, massage oils and facial scrubs, Jaleela Singleton said it was not easy for black-owned businesses to get the funding they had. need to support themselves.
“It’s hard for us to get the benefits we need for our own business because we are often turned down and there aren’t many opportunities that we can take advantage of,” said Singleton, owner of a Coochie Cane franchise. “Whenever you have an opportunity, go for it.”
Metro Decatur’s Black Chamber of Commerce held its second annual Black Business Expo at Central Park in Decatur on Saturday. The event aimed to help black-owned businesses gain visibility by showing the products and services they offer to the community.
Tony Wilkins, president of the Metro Decatur Black Chamber of Commerce, said the exhibit was also aimed at raising awareness of the organization to celebrate August being National Black Affairs Month.
“The first thing we want people to get out of this is to see how many black businesses are available and the goods and services they provide,” Wilkins said. “If people don’t know that these goods and services exist, then they can’t take advantage of them. “
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The companies paid $ 25 to participate if they were chamber members and $ 50 if not, which would later be used towards their future membership payments, Wilkins said.
The loan program, which is part of the Small Business Credit Initiative, participates with approved lenders like Hickory Point Bank & Trust to provide financing to various businesses and encourage bank lending. It fills in the gaps that prevent new and growing businesses from obtaining financing for start-up costs or working capital.
“We are very pleased to partner with the Metro Decatur Black Chamber and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to help support local minority-owned businesses in the Decatur community,” said Chris Funk, Executive Vice President of Hickory Point Bank & Trust, in a press release on Saturday.
Wilkins said more than $ 78 million in funds were allocated to the Illinois Advantage program and that it would be the first deployment for businesses in Macon County.
He also said the chamber will offer a workshop with Hickory Point on Monday to help companies with the application process and learn more about the qualifications required.
“We want people to know about the black businesses available,” Wilkins said. “We also want them to know that the Metro Decatur Black Chamber of Commerce is here to serve the business community and help them grow, develop and even start their business. “