Photo: Will Johnson

SOBRO Expo gets down to business

Entrepreneurs pose for photos at the Bronx Business Opportunities Expo on Sept. 19. Photo: Will Johnson

Business leaders, entrepreneurs and government officials gathered at Metropolitan College of New York’s 149th campus on Sept. 19 for a day of workshops, presentations and old-fashioned networking.

The 21st annual Bronx Business Opportunities Expo featured businesses and organizations, from Con Edison and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, to NYC Parks and ADT.

Hosted by South Bronx Overall Development Corp, (SOBRO) the expo advertised itself as a destination for all of the South Bronx’s business needs, desires and challenges. Despite concerns over the area’s rapid economic development and gentrification, the tone of the day was positive and proud.

“I look back on the Bronx and remember a time when our beautiful borough was burning, but that’s not the case today. It’s a great time to be here because now the Bronx means business,” said Jessica Johnson-Cope, President and CEO of Johnson Security Bureau Inc., a third generation Bronx based firm.

SOBRO Vice President Patrick James also linked the Bronx’s upswing to entrepreneurship while touting his organization’s “business solutions ecosystem.”

“We work with you from startup to transition…we offer the variety of services that in one shop and one house are all part of the ecosystem.”

Attendee Kim E. Webb was hoping she was in the right place to get help navigating the pitfalls and red tape involved in starting her new business, an online herbal remedy company. She claimed her medicines had cured her of various illnesses, and now she wanted to put them on the market. But, the cost and other logistics to start the business had bogged her down, and she was looking for assistance from the expo’s “ecosystem.”

“Why not put something together for people, help other people too, but I tried to get something together but it’s so expensive.” “I need to hire scientists to help me with shelf life.”

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