Posted: May 8, 2020 / 4:13 pm EDT
Updated: May 8, 2020 / 4:20 pm EDT
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – NBC4 is proud to partner with Ohio Black Expo to bring the popular event back to central Ohio after 26 years. Although a major weekend riverside event in downtown Genoa Park was originally intended for the expo’s return, the organization is now turning to technology to create a virtual event in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re disappointed that our historic celebration won’t be in person this year, but we’re grateful for today’s technology that enables us to gather together safely from home,” said Founder and President Rhonda D. Robinson. “We chose to move on to a virtual exhibition as we recognize the importance of the content of our workshops, the need to support our salespeople and performing artists, and the need to celebrate – especially at a time like this.”
This year’s event will be a free three day online event from May 21-23, 2020. Virtual workshops will be held Thursday and Friday along with a webcast of entertainment, honors and recognition, and a Memorial Day tribute to veterans on Saturday.
The workshop on Thursday May 21st will focus on black entrepreneurs. According to a press release, experts such as Henry Golatt, Small Business Ecosystem Builder and Chief Architect of the Reimagining Small Business Initiative of the City of Columbus and Kimberly Gayle, Director of the Columbus Region Minority Business Assistance Center of Ohio State, which is part of the Columbus Urban League, have participated . In addition, a team of experts from Key Bank will provide advice on COVID-19 and its impact on small businesses, SBA solutions, and the importance of building relationships with a bank.
In addition, the press release states that the morning workshops on Friday May 22nd will cover issues faced by seniors and caregivers, with a health and wellness workshop in the afternoon. The pandemic has made clear the differences that exist for people of color. The theme throughout the show will outline steps we can take to resolve these issues. Both workshops on Friday will have a session on “Mental Wellbeing Through the Pandemic”, a hot topic in May, Mental Health Awareness Month.
On Saturday, May 23rd, many artists who wanted to perform live at the event will now share their talents on the webcast.
The Ohio Black Expo also partnered with the HUKU Business Directory App (hukuapp.com) to support the vendors who wanted to be at the Riverfront Festival.
Robinson remains hopeful, adding, “We look forward to returning to downtown Columbus May 27-30, 2021.”
For more information, visit ohioblackexpo.com or call (614) 662-0950.
History of the Ohio Black Expo
Ohio Black Expo founder Rhonda D. Robinson was originally inspired to create the Columbus Black Expo after successfully registering more than 70 vendors for the Columbus Black Convention in 1980. Vernon Plaza from 1981-1987. After seven (7) years realizing the event was attracting people and traders from across the state, it changed the name to Ohio Black Expo.
The first Ohio Black Expo (OBE) was held at the Veteran’s Memorial downtown. It took place there from 1988 to 1991 and reached its peak with 300 exhibitors. It took place at the Dayton Convention Center in 1992 and at the Cincinnati Convention Center in 1993 and 1994.
Press archive: ohioblackexpo.com/press