Local Chamber of Commerce gears up for 1st Annual Business Expo, Jan. 26-28
A new business convention and expo will make its debut in Houston to showcase and promote African American-owned businesses and nonprofits as well as businesses from all cultural backgrounds committed to patronizing and investing in the success of African American businesses.
Hosted by the Bethel’s Place Black Chamber of Commerce, the first church-based chamber of commerce in the nation in affiliation with the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the three-day event will feature a variety of businesses committed to achieving a standard of excellence in providing quality products, top notch customer service and client satisfaction.
Participating businesses-many members of the BPBCC- also are committed to helping to revitalize the community and restore the lives of individuals in the southwest region where the Chamber offices are housed.
A fast-growing chamber, awarded the Chamber of the Year Award by the NBCC in Washington, Bethel’s Place Black Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated its first year of existence and is making preparations to celebrate its first business convention and expo with style and class.
“Black businesses are increasing in number based on U.S. Census data and are in a position to make a positive impact on the economy. Our goal is to provide the tools, education, networking opportunities and marketing and promotional vehicles that will provide them with them with visibility as well as a solid foundation for success and growth,” says Leon Jenkins, president and CEO of the BPBCC.
The convention/expo slated for January 26-28 will be held at the newly opened 55,000 sq. ft. Bethel’s Place Community Empowerment Center located at 12660 Sandpiper in Houston.
The event will kick off with a prayer breakfast featuring keynote speaker Rev. Walter August Jr, the chair of the BPBCC and will include local pastors and a host of community and business leaders.
“Small businesses have an opportunity to play a pivotal role in creating jobs and wealth. We want to empower them through this convention/expo and other year-long initiatives to be prepared and ready to capitalize on opportunities to strengthen, grow and take their businesses to the next level,” says August.
Business owners and the general public are invited to take part in this three-day expo which will include a variety of vendor booths, business workshops featuring topics such as “Sales 101: The Power of the Close” to “The Business Plan: Setting Your Business Up to Succeed,” as well as an exciting lineup of entertainment.
A local bank is sponsoring a $5,000 Video Business Plan Pitch Contest to provide investment or working capital to an aspiring or existing business owner seeking to fund or expand their business.
Participants will be given 60 seconds to pitch their business plan in a filmed spot to be reviewed by a panel of judges. The winning business will be featured in a future issue of Empower Magazine.
“We are excited to partner with a Houston area bank in this business funding initiative. The video pitch contest is an example of just one of the many initiatives the Chamber promotes to help strengthen and sustain small businesses,” says Jenkins.
“This expo is a one-stop opportunity for businesses to refuel and receive knowledge and insights from business experts in the fields of finance, sales, marketing and business coaching and networking opportunities,” says Jenkins.
August agrees on the opportunity the business/expo represents for small, mid-size and large businesses.
“When you leave this business expo you will be recharged and have had the opportunity to connect with other business owners to help take your business to another level that can only be gained through ongoing exposure and access,” says August.
“Too often small businesses operate in isolation and miss out on the opportunities that can come with linking and joining forces with other like-minded business owners,” he adds.
Not only will business owners benefit from this expo, the event will provide exciting entertainment and performances for the public.
Headline performances from gospel recording artists Byron Courtney Wilson, along with rising Christian vocalist, Aservant, performing selections from his debut CD. The three-day expo also will feature a $5,000 Video Business Plan Pitch Contest and live cooking demonstrations compliments of Chef Rey and executive chefs from the University of Houston’s Conrad Hilton Hotel.
Young and aspiring teenpreneurs will showcase their products and services hosted by the Young Entrepreneurs Chapter of the BPBCC.
Youth ages 8th – 12th grades are invited to purchase a booth and display their businesses and services. The cost of booths for youth is $100.
Entertainment for the younger crowd will include performances by the Desai Dancers, an Indian dance troupe, Houston area rap artist, Intellectual, promoting anti-smoking and drug messages, and more.
Participants will be invited to join the Bethel’s Place Black Chamber of Commerce and connect to a growing network of businesses committed to excellence and seeking to leverage their power through strength in numbers.
Regular admission to the expo is $9 for adults, and free for children under 12. The cost at the door for attendees is $10.
Business owners who are members of the Chamber can purchase an 8×10 booth at a member rate of $ 350.
Regular vendor booths are $375 for non-chamber businesses.
Booth rates increase on January 1, 2012 and booths are selling fast, so act now.
For more information or to request an exhibitor’s packet online, visit www.bpbcc.org and click on the Convention Expo links, under the Events tab.