TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The first annual black business symposium in Troy is helping to connect black entrepreneurs in particular with the resources necessary for their businesses to thrive.

“This is happening because our community really needs to know about how to be structured business wise, and having an opportunity to make sure that they are getting the quality tools to be successful” said Tatiana Cunningham who started the event.

518 Black Restaurant Week

When Cunningham’s shuttle business failed in 2014, she decided to restructure her company into hosting events like these. Cunningham says a major element to this symposium is helping explain to entrepreneurs the elements of running a business they may not understand. 

“So some of it is maybe not knowing how to do grants, maybe not having the proper credit to apply for a business loan or maybe not knowing how to really structure to make sure that they’re not over spending on inventory or just not over spending on unnecessary needs” the event host told us.

The meeting highlighted that many black small business owners might feel uneasy about reaching out for assistance. Speakers told those in attendance to think of it as not asking for help, but rather seeking support…support is something Andre Goodbee, a small electrical business owner, has found a lot of in our area. 

“I think there’s more of a support you need here in the capital region, because it’s a lot more smaller so we’re able to get a little bit more one-on-ones”.”” said Goodbee.

This symposium for spiritual hypnotherapy business owner Bernadette Willis, fostered a sense of togetherness, something she says is important not just for business owners but the communities in which they are located. 

“It helps me understand and realize I’m not alone as a minority business owner, bootstrapping. And it’s important to the community because it lets the community know that we’re here” said Willis. “And the more business we get, the more we can contribute to society, financially, socially, and things of that nature” she added.

The business that delivered the best pitch will be awarded a $10,000 grant at the symposium’s expo on November 11th.