Entrepreneurs show off their businesses at the 2019 Black Business Expo

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- On a rainy Saturday, people came to sit and listen to business owners and leaders shared advice at the 11th annual Black Business Expo inside the Durham Convention Center.

Organized by Eric Kelly, the gathering inspired by and a short distance from the Durham area once known as Black Wall Street.

"My company started on Black Wall Street in 1990," said Kelly. "And I remember the Scarboroughs, the Shepards and other people I looked up to."

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The upcoming formal celebration of Durham's 150th anniversary includes recognition of key roles played by members of the African American community.

The expo allows business owners the opportunity to network, sell and pitch their products.

Businesses ranged anywhere from landscaping services, vending machines, clothing, crafts and fine art.

Kelly says he reached out to nearly 100 businesses to attend the event.

But the event wasn't reserved only for adult business owners, there were young adults as well including Christian McQueen who aims to teach kids marketable job skills including making books and creating websites.

"The most important thing we do is raise scholarships for kids," Kelly said. "Those kids get set up to $5,000 and laptop computers. And that's so important when you look at what's going on in our society today."

Next year, Kelly hopes to connect more businesses led by diverse races and genders.

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