THIS WEEKEND Manchester will host an annual event touted as the largest shopping experience for black consumers.
Over Black-owned businesses will be on display today (August 6) at the Black-owned Business (BoB) Expo which takes place at the Manchester Central Convention Complex.
The year’s event, which is expected to attract up to 2000 consumers, marks the fourth year that the BoB Expo has been held. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample and buy a diverse range of items ranging from African-Caribbean beauty, food and fashion products among others.
The exhibition’s founder, Monique Kufuor, told The Voice that as well as meeting a growing demand for cultural products she wants the event to provide greater exposure for Black business owners.
“Visibility is so important” she said. “Many black business owners don’t have the financial resources to be able to pay for huge marketing. This makes it harder to meet their ideal clients. The idea behind the BoB Expo was to create an event where Black business owners can meet their ideal clients in the same room. They can be discovered by potential customers who can then go away and tell people they know that they found this amazing product or service at the Expo.”
Kufuor also revealed that her decision to launch the BoB Expo was born out of her frustration at not being able to find the cultural products she wanted to buy.
“I found it really difficult to find cultural products and diverse products, particularly hair products for my daughter, and myself” she recalled. “I would always have to go the extra mile to get products and I found this really frustrating.
“Gradually I realized this was a shared problem within the black community, and that the black consumer has been overlooked for so long. So I created an online platform to help people like myself find and know where to find things. And I was so surprised at how many amazing businesses there were who were offering really innovative products and services.”
Following the tragic death of George Floyd in May 2020 there has been a huge surge of support for black businesses, particularly through events such as Black Pound Day.
It’s a trend that Kufuor sees continuing.
“I think over the past two years people have become a lot more conscious. Even people outside the black community are thinking about what they can do to help the economic growth of marginalized communities. And that’s why I’m so passionate about the Expo.
“Even though there’s been this growth of support it’s still difficult for Black business owners to get the visibility they need. Our event is about providing a space where people can come along and see where these businesses are.”