Townhall in Orlando aims to help black businesses amid COVID pandemic

Black Business Townhall scheduled for Jan. 20 at Mad Cow Theater

ORLANDO, Fla. – There’s an important initiative aimed at getting results for businesses in the Orlando area during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many businesses have faced struggles during the pandemic. There’s a Black Business Townhall scheduled for Jan. 20 at the Mad Cow Theater in downtown Orlando. It’ll be a panel of experts aimed at providing information and resources for businesses.

It’s all being hosted by Black Orlando Tech, Legacy Ventures and The BEGIN society ahead of a Black Business three-day summit planned for April.

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“We want to be able to help those businesses who may be on the cusp of closure, maybe giving them that extra push, extra access to information could help,” Black Orlando Tech spokeswoman Kelda Senior said. “As a Black community, we know that we are a force when we join together. So, we encourage you to push through, come on out, and get connected to the access, information and resources that are already available.”

Dr. Brandon Mondesir is co-owner at Modern Eyes at Alafaya. He said running a business during the pandemic has not been easy.

“We went through some struggles and challenges, but we persevered,” Mondesir said.

He said they saw about a 40% reduction in business since the pandemic.

He and his wife opened in east Orange County on Juneteenth of 2020 and have been blessed to stay grounded despite tough times.

“It was tough, we contemplated closing a few times,” Alansen Mondesir said. “It feels good because we know that if we can open and succeed during the pandemic; if there was no pandemic we would soar.”

They plan to take part in the Black Business Townhall and Summit and said they’re happy about learning, networking and opening doors for others.

Meantime, James Awolaru owns Boughi Apparel and Accessories in Pine Hills. He also plans to take part in the Black Business Townhall next week.

“To encourage and elevate other business I’d love to be a part of it,” Awolaru said.

He said he’s been forced to lay off workers and even cut back on hours --all to make ends meet and support his family.

“I’ve been doing it all by myself because it’s been difficult,” Awolaru said. “Whatever you start, you have to finish. And I’m not done yet.”

For more information about the Black Business Townhall scheduled for Jan. 20, click this link.

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.