TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– As Black History Month comes to a close this week, the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce celebrated by promoting local Black-owned businesses.

The Black Business Alliance partnered with Terre Haute Regional Hospital to host the first-ever Black Business Expo on Saturday. LT Thompson, the coordinator for the Black Business Alliance, said the hospital contacted him, and the event came together quickly.

 “They reached out and wanted to celebrate Black History Month. They wanted to do that by bringing awareness to Black-owned businesses,” he said. “I reached out to Black-owned businesses to participate and we have over 15 vendors here on site. It’s a great opportunity to support local businesses in town.”

Thompson said he hopes the event helps raise awareness about these businesses– and also, the challenges they face.

“A lot of times in the Black community, we may not have the same resources, we may be trying to get our businesses off the ground,” Thompson said. “This is just a great way, publicly, to say, ‘Hey, we’re here. Come support us, and come see what our businesses are about,’ and obviously have a local impact in our community as well.”

Thompson believes progress is being made– and pointed towards meetings the Black Business Alliance is having regarding the incoming casino as evidence.

“We want to continue to have these events and support Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses,” he said. “One way we’re doing that is working with the Terre Haute Casino and Resort. We’re hosting meetings where they are looking for minority-owned businesses, and that goes more into discussions of how do we get some businesses certified, just different opportunities we are glad we are able to share.”

He said he hopes to partner with other organizations to host similar events going forward.