BELOIT—Black Business Week in Beloit will kick off Monday and it will include a visit by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and a special event with Santa and local businesses later in the week, according to information from Rock County Jumpstart Founder & Executive Director Genia Stevens and Founder of the Black Women in Business Expo Vickie Lynn.

The week will commence when Beloit NAACP Economic Development Committee and Political Action Committee, the Black Women in Business Expo and Rock County Jumpstart host a Black Business Week Beloit Kickoff celebration from 4—5:30 p.m. on Nov. 22 at the Beloit Historical Society, 845 Hackett St. with guest speaker Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. People have to register as seating is limited at the following link: https://bit.ly/3FtVHoV

The purpose of the week is to encourage people to support Black owned businesses.

“Typically this is a week people are encouraged to shop downtown. I want to remind folks small businesses exist throughout the community and Black owned businesses get the least amount of holiday dollars. We encourage people to spread those dollars around and not forget Black business owners. Please go downtown, but also remember to shop with our Black owned businesses and support them as well,” Stevens said.

A link to a directory of Black-owned businesses is available at Rockcountyjumpstart.org.

The week will culminate on Nov. 27 when Rock County Jumpstart, in partnership with Black Women in Business Beloit, will host the Black Business Week Beloit Expo at Community Action, from noon—5 p.m. The event gives the opportunity for vendors without storefronts to sell their products and for shoppers to get caught up on holiday shopping.

“It will be a family-friendly event where Santa comes and kids can get free face painting and balloon animals and play the spin-the-wheel game,” Stevens said.

Adults can wear their ugly sweater and compete to be a winner for the ugliest sweater contest with the chance to win $250.

“It’s a little bit of fun for everyone. It’s a free event open to the public. Masks are required,” Stevens said.

Stevens said it’s expected to be a great event. After people spread their holiday dollars around at businesses with storefronts during the week, they can support vendors without storefronts at the expo.

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