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South Bend festival aims to highlight minority-owned businesses

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SOUTH BEND — To say that Mary Smallwood and the 49 other vendors at the upcoming Small Business Launch Pad event are excited about the full reopening of the economy would be an understatement. 

While plenty of businesses struggled through the pandemic, few were impacted as much as the smallest — especially those owned by women and minorities, said Antonius Northern, inclusion project manager for the City of South Bend

So on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Smallwood and those other vendors will show off their products, crafts, foods, beverages and services during a festival on the grounds of the Charles Black Center at 3419 W. Washington St. 

Antonius Northern, right, describes the event layout to vendor Kelli Briend, of Mahogany Maternity, as they prepare to setup for the first Small Business Launch Pad event Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at the Charles Black Center in South Bend. The event will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“The Launch Pad is an opportunity for our community to connect with business owners they’ve missed since COVID hit,” said Northern, adding that the vast majority of the vendors are Black women. 

Read more:South Bend aims to help minority, women-owned businesses with accounting, bookkeeping

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