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QC Empowerment Network hosts expo for local Black-owned businesses

This was the sixth annual event, giving Black small-business owners more visibility, when many do not have a traditional store.

MOLINE, Ill. — Just inside SouthPark Mall in Moline sits an opportunity.

"Today is really about getting these businesses out here," said Tracy Singleton.

Singleton is part of the QC Empowerment Network, which helped make that opportunity happen for about 30 Black-owned businesses on Saturday.

"Some businesses have been here every year, and I'm so excited about that because that means that they're sustaining, that they are getting good customers and are able to go on from year to year and grow each year," Singleton said.

Destiny Wren has been coming to the expo and showcasing her business's products.

"I do everything from my home," Wren said.

This expo gives her more exposure and increases her customer base, Wren said.

"It's one of the few times out the year I get to get out and meet strangers, because for the most part, my business is you know online, solely Facebook and stuff like that," Wren said.

Also among the businesses at the expo are newcomers like Dr. Pandora Lawrence.

"A lot of people have said 'I wish I would have had some of that thinking when I was little,'" Lawrence said.

Lawrence wrote a children's book, which helps kids understand math concepts by reading out loud.

"I wanted them to feel powerful, like 'I really know how to get this. I understand the thinking behind it, I see the pictures, I understand it,'" Lawrence said.

Singleton said many of the businesses at the expo do not have traditional storefronts, so the expo is a creative space for them to reach their community and customers.

"When black businesses succeed, the black community succeeds," Singleton said.

The space was full of opportunity, with a chance to engage everyone in their community.

If you did not get a chance to stop by the event on Saturday, the QC Empowerment Network will host "open-air" markets starting in April.