TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – The newly formed Black Business Alliance held its first ever meeting at the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday evening.
The goal of the meeting is to offer networking, connections and a sense of community for local black entrepreneurs. Black Business Alliance Coordinator LT Thompson said that it was also a way to reach out for entrepreneurs to know that they’re there and have resources available.
Thompson, a small business owner himself, acknowledged that for many black business owners and aspiring ones, that there’s a sense of loneliness on the road to starting a business. He said that’s something that he would like to change with the BBA.
“We’ve all felt the sense that I’m excited about what I’m doing but I maybe feel alone,” Thompson explained. “That’s part of the Black Business Alliance, we don’t want anybody to feel alone.”
Thompson spoke highly of the local efforts being made to reach out to underserved communities and making business resources available. He mentions the work of the West Central Small Business Development Center and the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce.
“There’s steps being made in the community to reach out to underserved communities,” Thompson said. “There’s an effort to move forward and reach out.”
Shannon Hart was one of many that attended the meeting. She said that after consulting with LT, she knew that this gathering was a place for her to be. She’s the owner of Anna’s Hands Soul Food food truck. She said that it was a pleasure to hear the experiences of other local black enterpreneurs.
“When I heard of other small business owners, who are also black, talk about the struggles that they’ve had made you a sense of not feeling alone,” Hart said.
Although Hart is operating a thriving food truck, she said that she experienced struggles as she got her business going. She went on to say that finding resources is something that’s particularly hard for black business owners to do.
“Know how to advertise, where you should put your money and what’s initially important because some of the things that I thought were initially the most important things to do were not,” Hart explained.
That’s the value of gathering business owners and aspiring ones in the same room. The bouncing of ideas and knowledge is priceless when starting a business.
The BBA is still in its infancy as this is the first meeting that it’s ever hosted. However, Thompson said that he plans to continue giving all who have hopes of starting a business the resources and conversations that they need to start a business.
Thompson went on to say he plans to have regularly scheduled BBA meetings in the future.