The nation’s first Black entrepreneur-focused conference kicks off in the Richmond Region next month.
The second annual BLCK Street Conference at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on August 6-7 will give current and aspiring Black entrepreneurs opportunities to connect and learn, while building relationships and gaining valuable perspective and tools for their businesses.
Participants won’t have to look far for inspiration.
The convention center sits on the perimeter of Jackson Ward, a community rich with African-American history and home to a thriving network of new and decades-old Black-owned businesses. Once dubbed the “Black Wall Street,” many entrepreneurs like Maggie Lena Walker and William Washington Browne created enduring businesses and legacies that stretch well beyond Jackson Ward.
Today, the impact of Black-owned businesses extends throughout the Richmond Region. According to Census data, the region has the third-highest percentage of Black-owned businesses in the U.S.
It’s one of the many reasons that make Richmond the ideal location for the BLCK Street Conference, an event organized by the Jackson Ward Collective, a group working to connect RVA-based Black business owners with resources.
“BLCK Street is focused on bringing people to Richmond to connect with other entrepreneurs in a safe space to learn,” said Jackson Ward Collective co-founder and entrepreneur Rasheeda Creighton. “[Attendees] really walk away with something tangible that you can apply as soon as you walk out the door.”
Creighton helps organize the event and is particularly proud of the inclusive and welcoming environment BLCK Street Conference cultivates.
“People say, ‘I felt like it was okay to ask questions, I felt comfortable and it felt like it was a family reunion,” she said. “That’s the vibe. It’s culturally relevant, authentic and an opportunity to learn.”
From tourism and the creator economy to accessing business loans and generational wealth, the conference is full of informative sessions to guide and jumpstart entrepreneurial journeys. An all-star slate of speakers like Angel Gregorio (The Spice Suite) and Lauren Powers (business coach) will share entrepreneurial lessons during the conference as well.
Before and during the event, participants will have an opportunity to explore and experience the region. Local historian and radio personality Gary Flowers will lead a walking tour of Jackson Ward to explore significant educational, economic, religious and social institutions across the neighborhood’s history. In addition, the Richmond Night Market will feature local live music, art and shopping near the conference at Main Street Station.
About 300 people are expected to attend the BLCK Street Conference this year. Visit blckstreetconference.com for tickets and information.
To learn more about the Richmond Region’s Black history and culture, visit Richmond Region Tourism’s BLK RVA campaign.