The 2021 Virtual Black Business Matters Expo will be hosted on Feb. 18 from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor

The AFRO has been walking and talking Black businesses since its founding in 1892 and almost 129 years later, the publication is hosting the inaugural Black Business Matters Expo on Feb. 18.

As a member of the Black business community ourselves, the AFRO has a unique perspective on the challenges faced by Black businesses, especially during these unprecedented times.  This expo aligns with our mission to educate and empower the community with information and resources to help them succeed,” said AFRO Executive Director Lenora Howze, of the event that includes free registration for all participants.

In an all day affair (from 10 a.m.- 5p.m.), featuring entertainment, speakers and workshops sponsored by JP Morgan Chase, T. Rowe Price Foundation, Comcast and more, the Black Business Matters Expo will shed light on the strength, power and importance of Black businesses and entrepreneurs and emphasize supporting Black economy.

Robert F. Smith will headline the expo. Speakers include investment manager, entrepreneur and philanthropist Robert F. Smith and AFRO honoree Eddie Brown; realtor and radio personality Egypt Sherrod; the Hip Hop Preacher Dr. Eric Thomas; marketing guru and educator David Shands; Kaila Wright of Mess in the Bottle and Brian J. Olds of the Black Speaker Network.

The Black Business Matters Expo comes at a time where Black lives and businesses are experiencing unique and hard-hitting challenges during an already trying time in America, with the COVID-19 pandemic and continued issues of racism and White supremacy.  

“Whether it’s due to COVID-19, or the social and political unrest in the United States, many businesses are struggling to survive.  But as the old adage says, ‘When America gets a cold, Black America gets pneumonia.’  We want this expo to help businesses recover and survive,” Howze said.

According to USA Facts, in 2018 the United States Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey (ABS) found that Blacks owned 124,004 businesses that employed at least one paid employee (called employer businesses) in 2017.  Those 124,004 businesses accounted for 2.2 percent of the 5.7 million employer businesses in the country.

With the 2021 Virtual Black Business Matters Expo, the AFRO hopes to give audiences from all over the country and world an opportunity to learn about the history and might of those 2.2 percent (and growing) Black businesses, which are greatly influencing American and international economies overall.  Though people may not be able to network face-to-face, the virtual capacity allows for participants and Black business influencers to join from throughout the nation and world.

“People from all over the country (if not the world) can attend without ever having to leave their homes,” Howze remarked.

To learn more about and register for the free 20201 Virtual Black Business Matters Expo visit: If interested in sponsorship opportunities for the inaugural event contact Ms. Howze at


Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor