2024 Black Business Expo

by | Feb 1, 2024 | Events | 0 comments

Resounding Success for Black Business Expo

On Tuesday, February 20th the Black Collective, in partnership with the Universities at Shady Grove and The Lab for Entrepreneurship and Transformative Leadership, hosted the inaugural Black Business Expo. Exceeding our goals, the Expo showcased 58 vendors that are Black-owned businesses from a variety of industries, 5 Black-led nonprofit organizations, and 10 government agencies representing the County, State of Maryland, and Federal government. Registration checked in more than 300 visitors for the event and we received positive and excited feedback about the program. In addition, a panel discussion on the success strategies for Black business owners featured four experienced leaders who shared their experiences. Read our article below for highlights of the panel discussion.

Thank you to our partners, sponsors, vendors, visitors and the community of support that made the Expo a success. We look forward to the next Expo. Watch your email for details this spring!

Black Business Expo Panel Discussion

The Black Business Expo 2024 held at the Universities at Shady Grove gathered over 50 Black businesses in Montgomery County, and included Black-led nonprofit organizations as well as Federal, state, and local governmental agencies. With the opportunity to network and connect with people on supporting Black businesses, several business owners gave information and tips on starting and operating a minority-owned business, finding grants to support businesses, and even shared their personal stories on how they started their entrepreneurial journey.

The guest panelists were:

When asked about how they started funding their businesses, Hyacinth Tucker and Tony Parchment both talked about how they used their own personal funds to start their businesses. Crowdfunding, grants, and investors were also noted in their importance to a business looking to increase revenue and grow operations. A variety of reasons for starting a business included taking advantage of the technology boom, shadowing a family member while growing up, filling an obvious need in the community, and being a second-generation business owner.

Panelists shared responses on the obstacles they had to overcome in starting their businesses. Michelle Taylor said, “The fact that there was no succession plan in place, learning how to lead on the fly” and also forming relationships for long-term opportunities. Hyacinth Tucker talked about risk, saying “Embrace risk and do things you never thought you would do and learn continuously”. Some of the common obstacles include:

  • Building relationships
  • Learning logistics and operations
  • Funding

Michelle Ugorji shared the importance of utilizing pitching and pitch competitions to create funding and capital for the business and said, “When results are low, show up; when the results are great, show up”. Tony Parchment noted how dealing with people and the nuances of hiring and working with teams is pivotal to maintaining relationships and providing great service for customers.

Panelists shared tips on the “secret to success”, including Hyacinth stating, “Learn to bet on yourself, believe in yourself” and distinguish yourself from the competition. Tony Parchment said asking for help and providing help, and utilizing others’ strengths to create a perfect team can create a viable ecosystem for new business owners.

All panelists agreed that having positive people around that believe in the success of the company as well as utilizing the strengths of others to create the perfect team is critical. Finally, panelist Hyacinth Tucker told the audience to “Always remember your why!”

Washington, DC’s FOX5 and Montgomery Community Media
Covers the Black Business Expo

The Expo was featured in each of three evening news hours on local affiliate FOX5. Reporter Gwen Tolbart interviewed three vendors shown in separate segments. Vendors showcased are The Laundry Basket LLC, Interfaith Works and The Oaks B&B.



Black Business Expo 6pm.mp4

Our partner and sponsor, Montgomery Community Media, created a video of the event. View the video here.


3F Performance Consulting

African American Health Program

AMW Marketing & Design


Breathe Oxygen Solutions

CCI Health Services

Channer Consulting LLC

Collin’s Angel/HHELP

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority / PVAC

Empowering Initiatives

Friends of White Oak

Greys Consulting Group and SCORE

Ignite Hub at Montgomery College

Institute for Mastery and Integration

Interfaith Works

JLM HR Consulting, LLC

Kandih BioScience

La Belle Perfume Oils

Lawson Street Group LLC

Little Finances

Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce

Maryland Department of Transportation, Office of Small and Minority Business Policy

MBA Growth Partners

Mila, llc

MoCo Office of Procurement, Supplier Diversity

Montgomery Community Media

Montgomery County Black Collective

Montgomery County Black Business Database

Montgomery County Business Center

Montgomery County Department of Recreation

Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation

Montgomery County HHS BABIES BORN HEALTHY (BBH) Program 

Montgomery County Office of Grants Management

Moore Beauty Lookz

NAACP Montgomery County

NAASBI – The National Association for the Advancement of Small Business Innovation

NYS Diagnostics & Supply


Pat & Kay Dog Boarding LLC

Peoplytic, an HR Consulting Firm


Posh Drapes LLC


SG3 Events

SGAP Leaders

Sika House

The Dames Group LLC

The Elm Shop

The Empowered Block

The Lab for Entrepreneurship & Transformative Leadership (USG)

The Laundry Basket LLC

The Oaks Bed & Breakfast

TRU 2 Fitness Health

Truist Bank


US Department of Treasury, Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization

WorkSource Montgomery

WyattWear LLC

YOUnique Fitness


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