DANVILLE – Minority and female business owners will have the opportunity next week to access resources that will help them grow their business while showcasing what they have to offer.

Registration will be accepted through Monday for minority and female business owners in Vermilion and Champaign counties who would like to participate in the Minority Business Expo from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Danville Area Community College’s Mary Miller Complex.

The last two hours of the expo will be open to DACC students and community members so they can visit tables set up by the business owners who will display their products and services.

Carla Boyd, DACC assistant vice president of student services, said state Rep. Mike Marron, R-Fithian, is the sponsor of event being coordinated by the college’s Office of Diversity.

“He wants to meet small business owners and introduce them to state resources to help their businesses grow,” Boyd said.

Marron said he hatched the idea for the business fair after talking with people in the community and realizing there was a need for such an event.

“Not only do we want to showcase women- and minority-owned businesses in our area, but we want to give them a potential link to state resources to help those businesses to be successful,” he said.

The event will start at 9 a.m. with a registration check-in. Between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., business owners will have the opportunity to visit informational tables manned by various state agencies to learn more about resources that can help their business.

“It will be a time for the business owners to meet with the resource representatives,” Boyd said. “The state agencies and the business owners will get to interact.”

From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Marron will recognize the business owners in attendance, followed by a business resource presentation from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. by Marron and Diana Alfaro from Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Minority Economic Empowerment.

The expo then will be open to the public from 12:15 to 2 p.m. during which time business owners can showcase what they have to offer.

“This event will show who the small business owners are in our community and who their clientele is,” Boyd said.

Marron said the expo is open to all minority- and female-owned businesses in his 104th District, which covers the southern portion of Vermilion County, including Danville, and the northern portion of Champaign County.

“We’re hoping to have 20 to 25 business owners participate in the expo,” Boyd said, adding that she has several people signing up business owners for the event.

“I’m very excited for it, and we would definitely like to have this once a year,” Marron said of the event.

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