Texas Black Expo fosters diverse local business

Some Houston business owners are gathering downtown and they’re attracting quite a crowd.

The Texas Black Expo is being held this weekend at George R. Brown Convention Center. Hundreds attended the expo on Friday and 15,000 others are expected to stop by GRB on Saturday and Sunday so they can meet and support Houston area black business owners.

"When’ you’re associated with an event like this it gives you a great opportunity to reach people you probably would not have been able to reach,” explains Zawadi Bryant who started with one urgent care clinic for kids in 2007. 

Now, Bryant's Nightlight Pediatric Clinic has grown to eight Houston locations with 130 employees. 

"We’re doing over $10 million worth of business and I know that statistically there are only a fraction of women owned businesses doing that in the country," she says. 

Bryant co-owns the company with two more women.

"If you have a great idea and you work really hard, it’s completely possible for you to have a multi-million dollar business as well. I have an engineering background. I’m so far from that. I’ve really stretched myself,” explains Bryant, who is one of the biggest success stories at Houston’s Texas Black Expo. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke to the crowd saying, you can’t have a culturally rich city without diverse businesses. 

"Last year in the city of Houston, we had a record number, more business from the City of Houston to African American businesses since 183 years of the city. Over $100-million just to African American businesses," he said.

Founder Jerome Love says the expo isn’t only for business owners to network and meet new customers but to ultimately be an asset to Houston. 

"Businesses create jobs. They provide jobs for the community. When a person has a job and is gainfully employed they have money in their pocket. They are less likely to try to take your money," explains Love, who has this advice for aspiring entrepreneur’s with little more than a dream and a desire. 

"Make sure there’s a problem you are solving and you can produce a solution to that problem at an affordable rate, in order for you to make a profit because passion alone isn’t going to pay any bills,"  Love says.

African Americans have major spending power, he says.

"We’re a $1.7 trillion consumer group. So we have the resources. The problem is we don’t have any place to put it. Therefore, money comes in our community and goes straight out," he says.

The Texas Black Expo runs Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Hall B at GRB. 

There will be plenty of opportunities to shop for goods and services. There will also be a Kids Zone complete with a bouncy house, so the event is for the whole family.