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Black-owned business expo aims to give local entrepreneurs a platform

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 10:27 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Damia Cungtion started her catering business, Mamma Mia’s last March right as the pandemic started.

She says feeding people is her passion. ”When you feed people it does something to their heart. It does a lot of stuff. Just a simple gesture, a full stomach, anything like that. I just feel like it is helped,” says Cungtion.

Now almost a year later, she’s working to help other Black-owned business owners pursue their own dreams. ”Around Cedar Rapids, there are a lot of businesses, but a lot of them are not Black-owned. They’re Black-operated, but they’re not Black-owned, and I’ve seen that a lot,” says Cungtion.

Partnering with the Advocates for Social Justice and Willie Fairley, Mamma Mia’s hosted its first Black-owned business expo on Thursday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Cedar Rapids.

Almost a dozen vendors set up booths- some that got started less than a month ago, and others like Capria Davis, who’s been growing her business, Malease Photography, for 9 years. ”When we do come together it just makes things that much stronger. So just letting the Black community knowing what resources are out there for them, and it always is very impacting to see businesses that are owned by people who look like you,” says Davis.

Cungtion says she hopes to provide similar expos, with room for businesses to focus on growth in the coming months. ”It’s overwhelming. Because I didn’t really look at it, today’s the first time it really hit me that this is something, or it could be big. But it humbles my heart,” says Cungtion.

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