director for the Capital City area Chamber of Commerce, attended on behalf of the chamber to encourage students to intern with area businesses. “It’s all about networking, sharpening your skill set and building your portfolio,” Gray said. Gray said many students overlook the numerous career opportunities that local, black-owned businesses have to offer. Among the companies there was Barb’s Boutique, owned by Barbara Kemp. Kemp said she is a retailer who specializes in Greek-letter paraphernalia. She also carries baby books, artwork and all-occasion greeting cards.”I have Mother’s Day cards, birthday cards…all black-owned,” she said.Additional businesses on hand were DJ KD and KD Sounds, Amen Ra’s Bookshop and Gallery, Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Design and Consulting Group, Inc., Mustard Seed Multimedia, Inc., DuPont Insurance Agency and Soul Vegetarian Restaurant.Mandisa Ngozi and The Braid Shop, both owned by sisters and alumnae Valencia and Denise Jones were also in attendance. Their businesses specialize in natural hair care, natural soaps and moisturizers and handcrafted jewelry.The sisters make most of the merchandise, and said of their soap and moisturizer ingredients, “If we can’t pronounce it, we don’t use it.”Denise said the businesses serve children and professionals but is ideal for college students. “We are close to campus, and we offer braid training to employees,” she said.A panel discussion on the importance of black business inspired some young entrepreneurs. James Rose, a senior architecture student, who started an independent rentals magazine, said he wanted to “be a sponge” and learn tricks for his own business.”Classifieds don’t supply details for rental houses and townhouses,” said the Anchorage, Alaska native. “My magazine, City Rentals Magazine, will have more details and full-color photos.”Animal science/pre-veterinary student, Marqueth Williams came to the expo for possible internship opportunities. “I wanted to find out more about Black Pages and internships,” said the 19-year-old sophomore from Tallahassee. “I may not want to be a vet, and it’s nice to have something to fall back on.”Holland and Graham want to make the expo an annual event.”I would like to continue this,” Graham said. “We can have workshops on how to get your business off the ground and have internship and mentor programs. Eventually, we can expand to places like Gadsden County.”

contact lindsey pollard at lensay383@yahoo.com.