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Black Women’s Expo accepting applications for $2,500 PowerHer Small Business Grant

The Black Women’s Expo is seeking to make a meaningful impact on a deserving small business related to the food industry through the BWe NEXT PowHer Business Grant, $2500 cash grant, and coaching sessions. Entrepreneurs are invited to apply regardless of whether they have been in the food industry for decades or just getting started.

Merry Green, President of MGPG Events and creator of the Black Women’s Expo decided to add the grant as an additional element to her upcoming spin-off event titled “Bagels and Bosses” Brunch and Business Panel on Saturday, April 22, 2023 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency, 151 E. Wacker Drive in the Crystal Ballroom.

“If you have a business or food product that could benefit from this grant, I strongly encourage you to apply,” said Green. “Not only is it a chance to sew a seed in your business, but the winner will benefit from a coaching session with a seasoned, successful entrepreneur.”

Applicants are invited to pitch their brilliant concept by submitting a 90-second video. The BWe NEXT PowHer Business Grant deadline is Wednesday, April,12, 2023 at 11:59 pm CST.

“We want to help African American women business owners reach one of their 2023 goals by providing financial assistance and resources to utilize in their restaurants and/or assisting companies in the distribution of their food and beverage products,” added Green.

The winner must be present at the “Bagels and Bosses” Brunch and Business Panel. Full details can be found at

The “Bagels and Bosses” event will feature an in-depth panel discussion with Black female entrepreneurs in the food and hospitality industry. Each will chronicle their journey, share lessons learned and offer professional advice with brunch and networking as the backdrop. The “Bagels and Bosses” concept was originally introduced at the Atlanta Black Women’s Expo in December 2022 and was met with great interest and enthusiasm by attendees.

“The reaction from the crowd in Atlanta was amazing,” said Green, who is celebrating the 28th year of the Black Women’s Expo, which is the nation’s largest, longest running expo for Black women. “A vibe was created that left them engaged and wanting more, so we figured why not keep this momentum going.”

The food and hospitality industry panelists include:

  • Chrishon Lampley, Founder, LCS Entertainment, LLC, Love Cork Screw wines
  • Jackie Jackson, Owner, Kilwins Chicago & Fatburger Buffalo Wings
  • Bridgette Flagg, Head Cook & Owner, Soule Chicago
  • Yasmin Curry, Founder, Two Fish Crab Shack Co.
  • Lauran Smith, Founder, Black Restaurant Week
  • Vanetta Roy, Owner, Surfs Up Chicago

“Participants will receive a wealth of information and resources that encourage them to start their businesses, build their brands and add to their bottom lines,” added Green.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased via Ticket Falcon at Amenities include an official welcome on the pink carpet with live coverage interviews, a succulent brunch complete with mimosas, select exhibitors, giveaways and a post-event networking hour.

Plans are also in the works to duplicate the “Bagels and Bosses” experience in other markets including Washington, DC and a return to Atlanta in the fall.

“Not only will this series provide a creative platform for successful entrepreneurs to share their knowledge, but it sets the stage and builds anticipation for the 28th Annual Black Women’s Expo, which will be held in Chicago at McCormick Place August 4-6,” said Green.

Sponsorship opportunities for this event are available. For more information about “Bagels and Bosses” and Black Women’s Expo, visit or call 312-454-6100.

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