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New event helps Black entrepreneurs untangle the digital side of business

Less than a month from now, a select group of local small-business owners will gather at Ward4 in the Pritzlaff Building and try to crack the biggest question every business faces:

How do I break through when everyone is being sold something at pretty much every moment of the day?

For the big boys, the answer is the money and resources they have plenty of. But that doesn’t mean success is out of reach for the little guy. Information is powerful, too, which is why HYFIN decided to create its inaugural E-Commerce Summit — an all-day event that’ll take place May 18.

To connect local small businesses with that valuable info, HYFIN partnered with 37 Oaks, a Black-woman-owned commerce development and learning lab based out of Chicago. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., founder and CEO Terrand Smith will share knowledge and spur conversations that cover every facet of the online experience — from product descriptions to pulling data.

"We are thrilled to partner with 37 Oaks to bring this invaluable resource to Milwaukee's Black entrepreneurs," said Tarik Moody, HYFIN’s director of digital strategy and innovation. "The E-Commerce Summit is an opportunity for small business owners to gain the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in the ever-evolving digital marketplace."

That valuable information will come in the form of:

  • A panel of experts who have successfully established their online businesses and will share how they ensured more ups than down along that journey.
  • Application exercises and workshops that help turn browsers into buyers and spot prime areas for growth.
  • 37 Oaks University Courses that lay down the basics of e-commerce and conversion.

Everyone in attendance will also get some help after the summit, courtesy of a 30-minute one-on-one coaching session with an industry expert after the summit, as well as a one-month membership to the 37 Oaks Growth Lab.

With help from sponsors like Verizon, American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. and United Way Techquity, the summit is able to accommodate up to 75 local small-business owners in its first year. Currently, the event is looking to build its waitlist and ensure as many businesses as possible can take advantage of the opportunity.

If you’re a local Black-owned small business, you can join the waitlist by filling out the online form here, and you’ll be contacted by May 13 if there’s space to accommodate you. For those who fill out the form but don’t make it in this year, the summit will provide access to Operation HOPE’s One Million Black Business Initiative, which connects you with a coach to help launch and/or scale your business.