'The Real Black Friday' aims to strengthen local black businesses

CLEVELAND - If you’re a business owner, you know how tough it can be sometimes to keep things afloat, but imagine someone coming along to give your company the exact help it needs to succeed. That’s what one local event seeks to do that for a particular group of entrepreneurs like Norman Young, who knows how tricky it can be to start up his own franchise business.

“If you don’t know where you’re at in your business, or if you don’t know is it doing better than last year, then you’re basically just kind of running it into a hole,” Young said. That's not what that the 31-year old owner of Rays Scooter Bikes wants after he just invested in the eco-friendly tourism scooters from Raycon.

“It seemed like the perfect thing to bring down to the city,” said Young.

He was able to start his own business thanks to the $31 million distribution deal from R & B singer and recent tech business owner of Raytroniks, Ray J.

“See how it can all fit together with other businesses. That’s what it’s all about, the right relationship,” said Ray J.

That’s exactly the type of collaboration that LaRese Purnell, the founder of "The Real Black Friday" event in Cleveland, is all about.

“A lot of times a lack of resources don’t allow our community to take advantage of a lot of opportunities,” said Purnell, who advises hundreds of business owners, and knows how rough that first year especially can be.

“Black-owned businesses usually won’t stick around more than a year because of lack of foundation,” said Purnell.

Purnell focuses on giving black businesses specifically the tools they need to succeed, like financial and brand management classes.

“We do educational courses to teach them about how to make sure they have that foundation in place,” he said.

This year he’s inviting entrepreneurs like Ray J to the event to encourage business owners to keep going forward in pursuing their goals and dreams.

“I think you got to be really in it for the long-term success,” Ray J said.

Last year, nearly 8,000 people showed up to partake in The Real Black Friday. This year it’ll be on Public Square on August 12, and it is open to anyone interested.

 

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