Ra­dio show con­nects black en­trepreneurs with ex­perts

Daily Press (Sunday) - - Local News - By Tara Boz­ick Staff writer

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.

JONATHON GRUENKE/STAFF

Blair Durham in­ter­views guests while broad­cast­ing the ra­dio show “Black Wall Street To­day.”

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