Over the summer there was a big movement to help support Black-owned businesses in the Sioux Falls community. Today that work continues and is inspiring more people to start their own business.
“Ubwiza means beauty in our native language,” Ubwiza Boutique owner Naomi Blank said.
Naomi Blank came to Sioux Falls as a refugee from Rwanda when she was just eight years old.
“We came to America with nothing, but with hard work, stating goals and striving for better, you can achieve it,” Blank said.
Now this full time teacher also opened her own clothing company over the summer.
“I knew that I wanted to bring a little bit of my culture into the American culture just to kind of show our community, you know hey, these are the cultures around here,” Blank said.
“I know a lot of people have interest in owning a business but don’t necessarily have all of the tools or know all the things that they need in order to officially start their business,” Del’ Innka Beaudion said.
Del’ Inkka Beaudion, the owner of Swamp Daddy’s Restaurant, has been a business owner in the Sioux Falls community for four years now. She was one of the people who helped organize the Black Expo in downtown Sioux Falls this summer, bringing together other business owners of color in the community.
“We’ve had the third one here just a few weeks ago,” Beaudion said. “It’s been a huge success for all these Black-owned businesses, for people to know that they have a business here and to know they have an opportunity to support the variety of businesses.”
That continued community support and spotlight on Black-owned businesses is helping to inspire others.
“I think with recent events, the Black Expo showing highlight onto different community members and the things they do in the community, has presented that opportunity and planted that seed to let them know that they can see themselves in us. Who knows what the future will hold for them,” Beaudion said.
“I think it inspires people to want to try it, instead of it being a thought, now they have mentors, they have leaders who are doing it, it gives them the courage to say, yes I can do it and just being able to support each other in our community is amazing,” Blank said.
The Black Expo hopes to continue with regular events in Sioux Falls throughout the year, showcasing all of the new Black-owned businesses in the community. You can follow their Facebook page to find out when the next expo will be. Anyone interested in participating can connect with the Black Expo director, Shameka Shoultz.