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Black-owned business group holds St. Louis forum for fresh ideas

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — One group focused on improving economic opportunities for black-owned business was formed after the unrest in Ferguson. Tonight they opened up a discussion with the public about what needs to improve.

They packed into Fresno's Diner near the Grand Aveny Water Tower in the College Hills neighborhood and shared ideas.  Some said too many programs offering grants fail to determine whether they work.   The owner of Fresno's Diner spoke about the struggle to stay in business and the importance of remaining in north St. Louis.

Real STL News and the Heartland St. Louis Black Chamber of Commerce teamed up for the event. Organizers say there's a strong desire for black-owned businesses to thrive but the support network has not been there to help. The Black Chamber formed to fill that void following the unrest in Ferguson.

"So that they can stay in business longer, longer than the dreadful two years.  So that they can have all the things in place so that when they go to banks, and they are asking for loans so that they can survive longer, and that`s what the chamber is positioned to do.," said Veta Jeffery.

"We need an economic movement to raise all these lives to bring attention to what they can be and what they can have," said Marvin Steele.

Part of being empowered means winning elections.   The group Black Voters Matter is in town helping to register voters.

Another conversation will take place Friday night at the Friendly Temple Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Boulevard. That runs from 6:00pm until 9:00pm.

See this evening's forum here:

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