CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Over 800 businesses and vendors spent the day connecting with other companies and vendors through the City of Charleston’s annual Small Business Expo.

Business owners attending this event say it has been a helpful resource and tool coming out of the pandemic. City officials say they hope to continue growing the event each year.

“It is popping here at 2 George over at our 3rd annual business opportunity expo,” says Ruth Jenkins, Manager of the Women Minority Business Enterprise Program for the City of Charleston.

Charleston’s small business expo draws vendors, municipalities, and corporations to one spot where small business owners can create big opportunities.

“This business expo is designed to connect, engage and help small women and minority-owned businesses learn how to do business,” says Jordan.

The all-day seminar provides educational opportunities from marketing and branding to other tools for business owners. President of Trio Solutions, Jenny Dennis says the expo has been a success.

“To let people know there is opportunity out there,” says Dennis. “You know we had a really long time where people didn’t feel like they were doing a lot of business, and now we’re back, and people are out,” says Dennis.

Sameka Jenkins, who owns Carolima’s Lowcountry Cuisine, had never been to the expo before this year. Jenkins says she’s impressed with the resources offered for minority and women-owned businesses that are trying to get off the ground.

“This is the perfect time to visit these different companies and organizations to make the connections needed to take us to the next level,” says Jenkins.

The expo also featured government leaders and offered educational courses throughout the day, along with chances for business owners to pick up new leads and business. Officials and owners alike are excited to see what next years event brings.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do next year, but we’re going to make it bigger and better every year,” says Jordan. More importantly, we want to see the results to make sure these businesses are successful.”

The event lasted from 9am-5pm at the Galliard Center in downtown Charleston.