International entrepreneur speaks at NAAACC expo

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Black business owners from around north Alabama took notes from a keynote speaker at the expo hosted by the North Alabama African American Chamber of Commerce (NAAACC).

"The event is all about exposure and education," explained NAAACC president Jerry Mitchell.  we want to expose the businesses to the community, and each other, so they can do business with each other."

The luncheon speaker, J. Alexander Martin, co-founded 'For Us By Us' or FUBU, an international urban clothing company.

"I'm also president of the New York State Black Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the national black chamber of commerce. so we support each other," said Martin.

The NAAACC aims to close the earnings gap seen by minority business owners.

"If you look at the census, it shows blank business owners average $37,000 a year," explained Mitchell. "That's on average for all black businesses."

But the focus, they say, is on state growth not on ethnic boundaries.

"[Martin] took a $5,000 investment and the group of [co-founders] grew it into a $6 billion business," said Mitchell. "That's about green. That's not about race."

"[Black] communities were stricken with poverty, stricken with a lot of things, and we rose above that," said Martin. "If I can reach back and help them do that, I should. If everybody could be a billion dollar business, look at where we'd be as far as the community is concerned."