Chicago's first African-American Business Expo takes place Satur - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Chicago's first African-American Business Expo takes place Saturday

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The city is offering small business owners and entrepreneurs free advice Saturday. For many it's a welcome opportunity amid rising costs and lower revenue.

Learning to count to 20 in Mandarin Chinese is much easier than running your own business, says Young Achievers Academy Owner Zuli Turner.

Turner said that small business owners face growing odds to succeed, especially with the potential minimum wage increase.

“I think it should happen but I think that we should also do something to also motivate people to go back to school, get a higher level of education so that they can increase their wages continuously,” said Turner.

Turner opened an early childhood education center in Chatham nine years ago and employs six people. In the last five years, she’s experienced a decrease in revenue like many small business owners navigating their way through this economy.

Saturday marks Chicago’s first African American Small Business Expo, providing attendees with free advice on licensing, tax laws and access to capital.

Johnson Publishing Company CEO Desiree Rogers is the special keynote speaker for the event.

“You have to be passionate about what you do,” said Rogers in an interview with FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis.

That’s a start.

Rogers also believes going digital is a must do, to survive.

“You can't be afraid. You have to think about what for example, what was Jet about? Jet was about getting your information quickly and so what does that mean? That leads you right to digital,” said Rogers.

In June, Jet Magazine published its last print edition after launching its digital app but beyond technology, Chicago’s entrepreneurs face real challenges – high taxes and lower revenue compared to five years ago.

“We hear their pain. We understand that the economy is not the best right now which is why it's even more important to come in right now and see what resources there are for free to help you in your business,” said Chicago’s Business Affairs Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek.

“We want to keep the economic activity in the city of Chicago and we want to see your business prosper here in the city,” said Guerra Lapacek in an interview with FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis.

But revenue is reportedly down for most small businesses by at least ten percent.

Zuli Turner hopes to keep beating the odds and inspire others as well.

“I've been there, I've done that, nothing can surprise me, I can help you, I know people now, I have relationships, it feels good to say that and I just want to see where and far it's come since I started Young Achievers nine years ago,” said Turner.

FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis reports Turner is just one of at least 200 people who will attend Saturday’s expo. It is at the South Shore Cultural Center located at 7059 S. South Shore Drive in Chicago. The free event takes place between 10:00am-1:00pm.

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