Radio show connects black entrepreneurs with experts
Program on HU station spreads word on chamber
A new radio show on Hampton University’s WHOV 88.1 FM is helping Black BRAND — Hampton Roads’ Regional Black Chamber of Commerce — connect black entrepreneurs and business owners with experts, resources and each other.
“Black Wall Street Today” kicked off this past September, airing noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays with host Blair Durham, co-founder and president of Black BRAND.
When station manager Jay Lang relayed that WHOV had an opening for a show, Durham told him she was interested in a regional business show and Lang gave her a shot.
The radio show not only showcases local black business owners and civic leaders, it’s also getting the word out about Black BRAND, which kicked off in 2016 as the third iteration of a Hampton Roads black chamber of commerce, Durham said.
Black BRAND maintains relationships with the Hampton Roads Chamber and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Coastal Virginia, but the founders felt a hyper-focus would address the needs of the region’s black community, Durham said.
“We just believe with a solutions-focused approach, anything is possible,” Durham said.
Black BRAND is affiliated with the National Black Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Black Chambers Inc. and hosts regular networking and educational events. The nonprofit organization has 109 members, Durham said, and aims to improve the black community through economic empowerment, professional development, financial literacy and entrepreneurship training.
For instance, the chamber sponsored an entrepreneurship club at Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk in which students could pitch business ideas for cash prizes to help get them started, Durham said. So far, that program awarded $3,750 and the school is including the program and contest in its marketing class, she said. Black BRAND is also hosting an entrepreneurship fair at the high school 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 8.
Gilbert Bland, president and CEO of the Urban League of Hampton Roads Inc. and a local entrepreneur and employer, was one of the first guests on “Black Wall Street Today.”
“I heartily endorse anything that would promote minority business,” Bland said.
The Urban League has partnered with Black BRAND on a couple of social events and is exploring other ways to work together, Bland said. He said there is a need for more outreach to engage the black community.
“Black Wall Street Today” helps to “turn up the volume” on the voice of the local black community and brings about conscious conversation around topics that may be ignored by mainstream media, said Bert B e rg a n , founder of the Whereblackbiz.com directory. The show may provide a source of inspiration, too, said Bergan, who has been involved with Black BRAND since the start.
The radio show features local and national experts who can explain everything from investing in the stock market to starting and growing a business to achieving work-life balance. As a business owner himself, Lang said entrepreneurs need a program dedicated to business and economic education.
“We want the public at large to feel like it’s their show,” Lang said.
The radio show would like to hear from Hampton Roads business owners and experts, Durham said. For more information, find “Black Wall Street Today” or “Black BRAND” on Facebook or visit blackbrand.biz. The station and show is also available on iHeartRadio. Tara Bozick, 757-247-4741, tboz[email protected]lypress.com, @TidewaterBiz. Sign up for a free weekday business news email at TidewaterBiz.com.
Blair Durham interviews guests while broadcasting the radio show “Black Wall Street Today.”