TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — More than 60 Hispanic-owned businesses showcased their goods and services at the first Hispanic Business Expo Fair on Saturday.
Many entrepreneurs told NewsChannel 8 they had to rebuild after the pandemic.
Some vendors said they left everything behind to move to the United States to start their businesses.
One vendor said she made a career change and built her small business from scratch during the pandemic.
“It’s really amazing to see people come in from sometimes different countries or different economic backgrounds, and build a business just like these. It’s very inspiring and impressive, and we want to give them a platform to share,” said Emily Russell, an employee of the non-profit Uma Tulsa.
The event was more than just a business expo, it embraced the culture of the Hispanic community.
It included authentic food, dancers, and singers, and was entirely bilingual.
“English and Spanish, we want to be able to reach everybody,” Francheska Umpierre, a representative vendor for Homesmart, said.
“Unfortunately, when there’s a language barrier they don’t know what they’re signing, and we want to be able to explain everything and what better way than in their own language,” said Andrea Mesina, another Homesmart employee.
To take part in the Expo, vendors paid a $10 fee to reserve a spot.
“We wanted to keep the fee pretty low for businesses,” Russell said. “We want to make it accessible so they could come out and sell their products without feeling like they had to take some huge fee.”
Russell told NewsChannel 8 that Uma Tulsa estimated about 500 people came to the event to support the small businesses.
Vendors said they were glad to be able to promote their products and gain exposure from the event.
Uma Tulsa and The Hispanic Small Business Association said they hope to continue this event annually to support the community.