Black Business Expo, Battle of the Bands promising fun at Wolstein Center

The Real Black Friday and Music Through the Streets have teamed up for the 2023 Black Business Expo and Battle of the Bands. The event is Saturday, Sept. 16, from 4 to 10 p.m. at the Wolstein Center in downtown Cleveland.

Organizers say the expo will feature more than 140 local black-owned businesses, live music, vendors, face painting, balloon artists and more.

Tickets can be purchased online.

Black Business Expo and Battle of the Bands

The Real Black Friday

The Black Business Expo and Battle of the Bands is Saturday, September 16 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

LaRese Purnell, with The Real Black Friday, appeared on Good Morning Cleveland-Saturday.

“The focus of this day is just building our youth… and then also building minority and black-owned businesses,” Purnell said. “Bringing awareness, giving them the opportunity to sell their products and just bring awareness to the community that they exist.”

He said the idea is to increase exposure for local business owners and create opportunities for them to grow revenue and network.

For the first time, the expo has partnered with educator Donshon Wilson who’s the founder of Music Through the Streets. A Battle of the Bands competition will be taking place featuring high school students and college students from Ohio, Kentucky and Alabama.

It’s a partnership Purnell said he and Wilson have talked about doing for years.

“To just really make some impact and show that collaboration is important as we try to do the work we do… to bring our community together,” Purnell said.

He said the expo’s impact has been rewarding to local business owners and families across Northeast Ohio. Purnell said he cannot thank the community enough for its support.

“Next year, we celebrate 10 years as The Real Black Friday. Over 1,000 businesses. Over $5 million in economic impact. It brings awareness not just today, but after this event, people will go and visit these businesses, especially as we approach the winter season (when) small businesses tend to struggle in our community,” Purnell said. “This time really just brings that awareness to allow people to know that they exist and that they need the support to continue to build their businesses and create equity and access and build larger businesses.”

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