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Black Economic Expo Seeks To Inspire Entrepreneurship

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Tulsa is booming with new businesses and buildings; and with a history rooted in business, it's time for the black community to get on board.

Organizers say the black economic expo is where to start.

“My passion is doing art,” said Lloyd Ware.

For 28 years, Ware's art took a second place spot. For nearly three decades, he taught art to north Tulsa students.

Now recently retired, he's turning this special gift into a business.

"This is my first art show,” he stated.

Ware is surrounded by his pieces of painted plates and painted pictures, but he's also surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs striving to make their businesses a success.

"How to have a business plan, learn how to have a strategy, how to get a store front, how to get investments, how to get employees [and] have an overall business sense is what we want to teach people,” Charles Wilkes explained.

Wilkes and his mother, who has had many successful businesses of her own, started the nonprofit Black Economic Expo.

The hope is to give black entrepreneurs the tools to start and run successful businesses.

"You need to step out there launch into the deep and start showing people your talents and gifts and abilities,” said Ware.

Statistics show communities with employers who also live in the community tend to me more successful because the dollars spent stays in that community.

Wilkes says historically black business in Tulsa thrived. They hope to help it thrive once more.

"They started from little to nothing and grew to what they have and we have the potential,” said Wilkes.

The expo continues Sunday along with a fashion show that starts at 3 p.m. back at the exchange center. 

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