Small Business Launchpad event held at Charles Black Center

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- The city of South Bend held a "Small Business Launchpad" event at the Charles Black Center on Saturday. 40 women and minority owned businesses were represented as vendors.

"The turnout has actually been pretty decent," said Kelema White, Owner of Kix Eyelashes. "With the weather being the way it is, it’s been a good turnout."

Many of the businesses in attendance were less than a year old and trying to gain exposure in the midst of  the COVID pandemic. 

"It gives us great exposure, especially when we’re just starting out and we really don’t know how to branch out to market ourselves," said White. "These events basically helps really expose us to our community."

The event was sponsored by the city of South Bend's Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Teens like Essence Bray, who volunteered at the event, say the event made her excited about her future.

"I think it gives me a lot of hope," said Bray. "If they can do it, I can do it and the city is helping us do it." 

Bray says she's glad to see South Bend invest so much into helping women and minority entrepreneurs succeed.

"I love it," said Bray. "I love it so much because we don’t get to ever have this opportunity so just to have it here just brings me to tears."

Officials say each vendor had more than $500 in sales on Saturday. 

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