Augusta holds expo for new businesses

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November 1, 2006

Augusta is taking steps to keep more money in your city.

Today, it was through a one-stop workshop for dozens of minority and women business owners and anyone looking to start a business.

A question that's often asked at political forums is: how can we get more minority and small businesses in Augusta?

Plenty of people say we need them, and a business expo today was a start to making it happen.

As owner of a new catering business in town, Jonavon Harris was all ears today, asking the right questions.

"This is really helpful," he told News 12. "I'm 30 years old. I started when I was 22, trying to get into business. I didn’t know what direction to go."

Giving direction is the purpose of Augusta's first-ever business expo for minorities and women who are or would like to be business owners.

It was a chance to meet with city leaders and experts to learn everything from how to get started to how to get financial help.

And aside from all of the workshops, one of the biggest parts of this expo is--of course--networking.

"I think networking is one of the biggest factors," said business owner Keith Brown. "If the people don't know you, there's no way for them to do business with you."

Perhaps no one knows the necessity of networking better than David Karangu. He spoke at the expo of his struggles starting out. Now he's considered one of Augusta's most successful minority business owners, owning Fairway Ford and Mercedes Benz of Augusta.

"I've always felt an obligation to let people see I'm real, I do exist, and there's other people like me that are working hard and running multi-million dollar businesses," Karangu said.

For the dozens who showed up, it may have been a lot of advice to absorb, but in the bigger picture, their ambition and hopes at local success could mean big things for the city.

"We want to make sure our tax dollars are staying here in Augusta, Richmond County and not going to other states," said Yvonne Gentry of the Disadvantaged Business Department.

For folks who missed this expo, the city of Augusta plans to have another one soon.

If you want to get information before then about starting a business in the city, you can contact Augusta's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. Their number is 706-821-2406.