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Event aims to invigorate African-American-owned businesses, communities

by Douglas J. Guth, Fresh Water

LaRese Purnell believes the best way to improve a city’s financial stability is by increasing the revenue of the businesses within it. As founder of a nonprofit bringing exposure to African-American-owned enterprises in Cleveland, Purnell has dedicated a weekend later this month to breathe life into that concept.

Awareness, education and economic impact are the themes of The Real Black Friday (RBF) event to be held August 12-14 at three separate locations in Cleveland. The initiative, now in its third year, will promote local black entrepreneurs, many of whom are already listed in a directoryon the organization’s website.

Restaurants, barbers, architectural firms and a credit union will be among the ventures on hand, garnering the kind of attention a lack of advertising dollars often prevents.

“These are small, self-started businesses with not much capital,” says Purnell, an author and speaker who also serves as chief financial officer at The Word Church. “They’ve never had a billboard or radio ad. They’re fighting to keep their doors open, so marketing is at the bottom of the totem pole.”

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