Indianapolis' Black Expo
Small black-owned businesses fight for resources in Indianapolis
July 14, 2015
Dedicating a career to reclaiming the city’s youth is no easy task, but that’s exactly what small-business owner Sabra Logan is trying to do.
“Mama Sabra,” as she goes by, is the owner and operator of The Iibada Dance Company, a safe place for local children to express themselves through dance. Even with 25 years of dance experience, her good deeds come at a price, she said, owning and operating a non-profit organization can be a challenge in Indy’s black community.
Although the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Business Owners reported that black-owned businesses in the Indy-metro area are on the rise by nearly 51 percent since 2009, the availability of resources and financial support is a struggle for many black business owners.
“I’m struggling at the moment,” Logan said . “I’m proud of the program I run, and I think it’s necessary that I have the proper support to continue.”
Indiana’s Black Expo Summer Celebration hosts several programs targeted at community business development. The Professional Networking Reception held on July 14 was one of the opportunities for local businesses and aspiring executives to mingle and share ideas. Logan, who has attended several of the Expo’s Business Conference workshops, took advantage of the event and the possibility of meeting other entrepreneurial leaders.
“Today alone, I’ve met some key people that I really needed to talk to,” Logan said. “I’m talking to new people who are in different businesses, and it’s a great way for us to help eachother out.”
Other aspiring business leaders attended the event in hopes of making networking connections that could advance their leadership in their companies. Though the majority of those at the reception were affiliated with larger Indiana corporations, the idea that smaller black businesses required more attention was shared by many.
“I think that networking could be worked on within the black community,” said Nina Carter, a local Indiana businesswoman. “This is a great place to meet a bunch of cool people and contacts.”
Cheyane Pace, a financial services representative, said she depends on support from the local business community to succeed at her job, and believes that professionals at the Black Expo should focus on giving attention to a variety of business owners and employees.
“I grow my business with meeting other professionals and helping them with their business planning needs,” Pace said. “I think the city could be doing more outreach to small businesses - sharing information and resources is more helpful than a lot of people think.”
The Black Expo stands by their mission stating that, “The Summer Celebration offers businesses and organizations numerous ways to connect with consumers. With a goal in mind to educate and uplift our growing, diverse community, Summer Celebration highlights culture in many different areas." Local businesses, big and small, are invited to socialize and work together during the Summer Celebration to improve relations throughout the year.
Logan has to work harder than the bigger black businesses to keep her organization afloat, but she’s still eager to find ways to improve her business operations and youth outreach, despite the obstacles.
“The best way to help [black business owners] is to include us,” Logan said. “Training, workshops and networking are the great thing about the Black Expo, and I think it’s really going to help a person like me.”