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Community partners host 'Black Businesses Matter' workshops for small Black- and minority-owned businesses in Buffalo

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Wed, Sep 23rd 2020 11:55 am

Six live weekly webinars beginning week of Oct. 5; free for attendees 

Three organizations have partnered to host a series of free marketing workshops for small Black- and minority-owned businesses in Buffalo.

Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals, Community Action Organization of WNY and Dixon Schwabl will host “Black Businesses Matter” workshops beginning the week of Oct. 5. This marketing series is designed specifically for small, minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in Greater Buffalo to help attendees increase exposure for their businesses through low-cost, effective marketing and advertising techniques while addressing the issues of diversity and equity in the Buffalo business market. 

“The ‘Black Businesses Matter’ marketing series was established to address the inequities in opportunities for minority-owned businesses that have crippled their growth for decades,” said Catherine Roberts, senior vice president of program administration at Community Action Organization of WNY. “Unfortunately, the impact of COVID-19 has exacerbated these disparities and, according to Forbes magazine, nearly 41% of Black businesses are now closed due to the pandemic. This workshop series is a call to action to help minority-owned businesses remain viable, profitable and sustainable by enhancing their branding and marketing skills to better promote, compete and succeed both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The weekly live webinars will begin the week of Oct. 5 and take place at 6 p.m. each Wednesday. “BBM” workshops, led by Dixon Schwabl’s marketing experts and key community partners, will provide tools and resources to help small Black- and minority-owned businesses grow and thrive in their communities by providing expert guidance on marketing basics, with a focus on practical skills and tangible executions. 

“The ‘Black Businesses Matter’ initiative provides the opportunity to equip Black and brown communities – who have been and continue to be disadvantaged – with well-needed tools that enable and promote socioeconomic and generational equity,” Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals President Mark Glasgow said. “We hope to give the community of small Black- and minority business owners and entrepreneurs key strategies that will strengthen and grow their business presence in order to have a positive economic impact throughout the Buffalo community.

“Buffalo and Western New York, we invite you to experience a new access and exposure to resources and conversations for sustainable empowerment so that your business can progress toward long-term survival and growth.”

The series is designed for Black- and minority small business owners looking to increase business – from those just starting out to seasoned entrepreneurs and any Buffalo professional interested in learning marketing, advertising and public relations technologies that are affordable and efficient. 

“This is a time in history when it’s really critical that we all take a good look inward, get involved and commit to making changes for the better,” Dixon Schwabl President Mike Schwabl said. “The ‘Black Businesses Matter’ initiative gives our team at Dixon Schwabl an opportunity to share their expertise and partner with some great people and organizations to bring real change and hope to Black small business owners and their communities. Helping others is just the Buffalo thing to do.”

Black and minority small-business owners, their team members and supporters interested in registering for the “BBM” workshops can visit www.blackbusinessworkshops.com. All workshops are free to attend. 

“We are thrilled to partner with Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals and Dixon Schwabl on this initiative to shine a light on the importance of supporting minority businesses throughout Buffalo and Western New York,” Roberts said. 

Workshop Schedule

•Workshop 1: Wednesday, Oct. 7 — “Marketing Basics for Small Businesses” outlines Marketing 101 basics: target customers, target geographies, telling your story and reputation management. This will lay a foundation for what will be covered in the next modules (establishing an online presence, storytelling and paid promotion). Presented by: Kim Allen, managing partner of communications at Dixon Schwabl; Jessica Savage, managing partner of account services at Dixon Schwabl; Adriana Viverette, on-air radio personality at 93.7 WBLK. Hosted by: Catherine Roberts, senior VP of program administration at Community Action Organization.

•Workshop 2: Wednesday, Oct. 14 — “Establishing Your Online Presence” covers the foundational basics of putting your business online, taking participants through self-serve website and social media presence basics, including: Registering your domain name and setting up a basic Squarespace/Wix website; basic SEO and local listings (Google My Business); setting up your social media business pages (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn). The workshop will also touch on more complex website functions, like e-commerce. Presented by: Marquis Burton, front-end web developer at Dixon Schwabl; Josh Smith, search engine optimization manager at Dixon Schwabl. Hosted by: Glenn Coles, CEO of Kholes Entertainment.

•Workshop 3: Wednesday, Oct. 21 — “Telling Your Story, Part 1: The Power of Great Visuals” discusses telling your story by using great visuals, video and audio. The emphasis will be on using tools that are readily accessible to a small-business owner, like a smartphone. In addition to sharing ideas and best practices, this workshop will cover equipment you might want to buy if you choose to up your capabilities. Presented by: Pete Wayner, production supervisor at Dixon Schwabl; Jamil Crews, digital communications manager at Say Yes Buffalo and owner of Crews Control Media; Krystal Atwater, senior creative producer at Fisher-Price and professional development chair at Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals. Hosted by: Madison Carter, news anchor at WKBW-TV and president of the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists.

•Workshop 4: Wednesday, Oct. 28 — “Telling Your Story, Part 2: Techniques to Garner Earned Media” will cover what constitutes a media-worthy story and how to go about getting your story told. Attendees will learn the dos and don’ts of interacting with the media. Basic instructions for writing a well-crafted press release/media alert will be highlighted. Presented by: Nadine General, vice president of agency nonprofit services at Dixon Schwabl; Dan Miner, reporter at Buffalo Business First; Daphne Ross, CEO of Lineage Communications; and Latrese Myers, CEO of Let’s Talk WNY. Hosted by: Madison Carter, news anchor at WKBW-TV and president at Buffalo Association of Black Journalists.

•Workshop 5: Wednesday, Nov. 4 — “Paid Media and Email Marketing” will cover media concepts, reaching your target audience and measuring success. This workshop will touch on pros and cons of traditional media, but will primarily focus on self-serve platforms that small businesses can use to drive traffic and awareness. Emphasis will be placed on how to run Facebook ads (budgeting, targeting, ad copy), Google Search ads basics (budgeting, targeting, ad copy) and email marketing (self-serve platforms like Mailchimp). Presented by: Erin Haskell, senior media manager at Dixon Schwabl; Emily Benson, email marketing strategist at Dixon Schwabl; Kenyana David, MBA, FoundHER at 81Eighteen. Hosted by: Edwin Jackson, director of housing and development at Buffalo Urban League; on-air radio personality, 93.7 WBLK.

•Workshop 6: Wednesday, Nov. 11 — “Financing, Logistics and Scalability: Getting the Money You Need to Succeed” will explore the financing resources available for small businesses. Attendees will learn the dos and don’ts of creating and presenting a solid business plan. Presented by: Dawn E. Sanders-Garrett, president of VSG Consulting Group LLC. Hosted by: Glenn Coles, CEO of Kholes Entertainment.

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