ABOVE: Students of the Aspire Youth Entrepreneur Summer Camp pose with founder Jerome Love
Texas Black Expo Brings Back In-Person Event for Summer Celebration
When Jerome Love founded the Texas Black Expo (TBE) approximately 20 years ago, he dreamed that the nonprofit organization would one day become a sought-after and critical resource for small, Black-owned businesses throughout the state of Texas.
Fast forward, nearly two decades later, and that dream has been realized. Love is poised to take the TBE Summer Celebration, Expo, and the organization as a whole, to an entirely new level.
The Texas Black Expo has been a pillar in the African American community for 20 years, as a year-round, multifaceted community service organization with affiliate chapters around the state.
TBE has traditionally been known for its two major events—the Summer Celebration and Expo, and its business development seminars, but has since added more offerings for small businesses.
Like most events throughout the city of Houston and the United States, the TBE Summer Celebration and Expo had to go on a hiatus from the popular in-person gathering it has always been known for, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, the four-day weekend of festivities returns from June 22-25, 2023, and promises to bring its staple offerings such as community and corporate-focused events, entertainment, and a platform for small businesses to introduce their products and services to the market.
“We are so excited to bring the TBE Summer Celebration back to the George R. Brown Convention Center in-person this year,” said Love. “Black-owned businesses have taken a beating since the start of the pandemic, so we want to do everything we can to help businesses get back on their feet. We’re proud that throughout our decades-long history, we have been able to provide a vehicle for small companies to get their start or grow their enterprises.”
With a theme of BOOM: Building Our Own Marketplace, the TBE Summer Celebration and Expo promises an explosion of opportunities, education and high-profile personalities at this year’s celebration. Thousands of people from across the state of Texas are expected to be in attendance.
“It has been our immense honor and pleasure to have served the people of Texas for 20 years through the Texas Black Expo,” said TBE founder Jerome Love. “This event has become a staple in the local and regional business communities, with our vendors coming back year after year. Now that we’re able to gather again in-person since the pandemic, we’re looking forward to continuing to support small business owners, youth and the community at large.”
The Summer Celebration has something for the entire family including the Kids Adventure Zone with a bouncy house, face painting, games and more, the ever-popular Diva Dialogue panel discussion, and a line-dancing competition for seniors.
In addition, the Expo will also include a health and wellness pavilion, a beauty extravaganza, empowerment workshops, a kids and teen talent competition, live entertainment and author showcase. TBE will also honor community leaders at its annual Corporate Awards Luncheon.
Although Texas Black Expo is widely known for its annual Summer Celebration event and Expo, the nonprofit has year-round programming to meet the needs of Black business owners, students and the community.
Love realized that while his initial focus of starting TBE was to provide a platform to help small businesses promote and sell their products and services in order to increase their wealth was important, he needed to do more.
“We realized that to be more effective we needed to provide more than just an event, but ongoing education, training and support which can come in many forms such as our emergency grants, business consultations, and other programs,” said Love.
Every January, TBE hosts the CEO Roundtable and Elevator Pitch competition, where new business owners get to hear and learn from seasoned entrepreneurs and present their ideas for a chance at thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.
The ASPIRE Youth Entrepreneur Summer Camp takes junior high and high school students through a two-week curriculum, where they are introduced to basic business concepts and have the chance to see how local corporations work up-close.
The COVID-19 pandemic also sparked the creation of TBE’s BOOST and Lunch and Learn virtual business training programs as well as the Black Money Tree podcast, which has broadcast insight on entrepreneurship from several high-profile businessmen and women including Ron DeVoe from New Edition; Dr. Glenda Glover, international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; and Eden Bridgeman, CEO of Ebony, among others.
Love also created the We All Eat program—a multimillion-dollar initiative that provided over 750,000 free meals from restaurants in Fort Bend County during the height of the pandemic and has funneled money to small businesses within African American communities.
“My biggest hope is that all of the programs, events, courses, fundraising and other efforts make a difference in the health of small businesses, which ultimately helps families and whole communities,” Love said. “If Black people are ever going to close the wealth gap, it’s going to take a concerted effort. It’s all connected, and my team, sponsors and I are just doing our part.”
Love states that he isn’t stopping the growth focus at their 20th year but has more on the horizon.
“Moving forward, we are launching a multi-million-dollar fundraising initiative to launch our Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Academy, as well as our own branded educational curriculum—Finance Entrepreneurship & Wealth Management (F.E.W.)—that will teach Black students how to manage money, grow businesses, and finance businesses. Through this, we ultimately plan to show students how to acquire acreage to develop properties that will include retail, office buildings, and a physical incubator to help birth more sustainable Black businesses, which will create jobs and ultimately funnel resources into underserved communities in order to make them self-sustaining. We have so much more to do!”
The Texas Black Expo was founded on the mission of bettering the community and offering an opportunity for African Americans to find success as business leaders. Through its year-round programming, TBE has committed to building resilient businesses in the community, and helping small companies and organizations attain fundamental entrepreneurial structure needed to gain market shares against their competitors. Texas Black Expo helps to build strong families, positively impact businesses and increase the value of economic growth in Texas.
For more information about the Texas Black Expo or the Summer Celebration and Expo, please visit www.texasblackexpo.com, or @TexasBlackExpo on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.