Sister Spokesman Small Business Showcase encourages and informs local entrepreneurs

Fun and informative are two words to describe the event

Panelists (l-r): Kenya McKnight Ahad of Black Women's Wealth Alliance (BWWA), Julie Gartrell, owner of Fierce Hair & Make Up, Alex Tittle of Diversity ACT and the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, Teresa Brown-Rogers owner of Simply Fabulous One Boutique and ofAshley Bennett of Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON).
Panelists (l-r): Kenya McKnight Ahad of Black Women’s Wealth Alliance
(BWWA), Julie Gartrell, owner of Fierce Hair & Make Up, Alex Tittle of Diversity ACT and the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, Teresa Brown-Rogers owner of Simply Fabulous One Boutique and Ashley Bennett of Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON). (Steve Floyd/MSR News)

In advance of 2016’s Small Business Saturday on November 26, Sister Spokesman: Small Business Showcase and Shopping Extravaganza, held on Saturday, November 5, provided information to current and perspective entrepreneurs. The ballroom at Midpointe Event Center in St. Paul was packed with excited shoppers and local entrepreneurs selling everything from tasty soul food dishes to jewelry, makeup, gifts and clothing.

Live entertainment was provided by local soul crooner Michael De’Cole and saxophonist Willie Moore, while KMOJ DJ Q Bear played up-tempo jams to keep the afternoon lively.

Shoppers got an early jump on gift-giving season
Attendees got an early jump on the shopping season (Steve Floyd/MSR News)

The highlight of the event was the panel discussion led by Alex Tittle, vice president of Business Connect & Corporate Affairs for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee; Julie Gartrell, owner of Fierce Hair & Make Up Lounge; Kenya McKnight Ahad of Black Women’s Wealth Alliance (BWWA); Teresa Brown-Rogers, owner of Simply Fabulous One Boutique; and Ashley Bennett of Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON).

Diane E'laine performing the Sister Spokesman theme song
Diane E’laine performing the Sister Spokesman theme song (Steve Floyd/MSR News)

The panelists shared their experiences in business and informed would-be entrepreneurs about resources and tools available. Ahad of BWWA stressed the importance of networking by telling the audience, “Find people in the world you want to be in relationships with and build [those] relationships.” Bennett of NEON invited Northside would-be business owners to attend a NEON workshop, more information on which can be found at www.neon-mn.org.

Tittle invited interested business owners to a December 2 informational event at University of St. Thomas Law School, hosted by MN Super Bowl LII Business Connect. The event is for local and diverse businesses to see what it takes to qualify for participation in Super Bowl 52. For more information, visit: www.mnsuperbowl.com/get-involved/business-connect.

Sister Spokesman’s December event is “Celebrating Mothers of All Ages” at Arnellia’s in St. Paul. If you’re interested in honoring a mother or mother-figure in your life, it’s not too late! Submissions are being accepted until November 18. Contact sisterspokesman@spokesman-recorder.com for details, or call 612-827-4021.

See more photos by Steve Floyd below: